Social justice and education: pedagogies and practices of hope and change

Speech held by Sami Seppilä and Tatu Tossavainen


Lecture and discussion with professor Peter McLaren 27.4.2016 at 17.00-19.30 Minervatori, Siltavuorenpenger 5, University of Helsinki


We are an organization focused on developing pedagogical practices and societal influence.

It all started in spring 2015 when we started writing a blog to raise debate about themes and questions we felt important to address and express and after that we have been active in real life, too. We have carried out workshops and lectures in various contexts from grassroot level debates to national development projects as well as for international audiences.

Our goal is to implement practices and projects based on criticality, dialogue as a work method, collaboration and change in different environments. We aim at a humane and socially just change in society.

How do we do that? We:

  • We educate and train professionals working with people
  • Promote awareness of critical pedagogy
  • Write articles and blog texts
  • Develop pedagogical practices that eradicate human suffering and alienation by promoting hope and change on all levels from the individual to the community and the society
  • we want to bring together agents from all fields and levels of society

Critical pedagogy for us is theory of praxis, where theory and practice, reflection and action are the foundation for everything we do.


Krigo was founded in order to do things better, so that true effectiveness, real changes and social justice are more important than admiration or defending an agent´s / organization’s own paradigm. The goal for us is always the creation of possibilities for individuals and communities, enabling them to meet their full potential,  while striving for societal changes at the same time.

Now, in this time, we think that the practices of critical pedagogy are needed to create models, approaches and broad social movement which get their philosophy, energy and visions from the core of critical pedagogy – From the dream of a more humane future.

And from the realization that this future can only be the results of our actions today.

But why we need an organization like KRIGO, which functions through this kind of paradigm?

It is not just that we have this “horrible government” in power stomping the weak, hating civilisation like never before.

Society is in a cycle of ongoing and accelerating change, becoming more diverse, more shattered. World is getting larger and smaller at the same time. Global challenges become personal, while an individual’s possibilities to make an impact and have a meaning in his / her life escape further and further – At least in people’s experiences and that is what counts.

In addition we have a great abundance in social inequality, polarization… more people relying on charity food donations (“bread lines” like we call them here in Finland are getting longer here as well), we have mental health issues, learning disabilities, inequality, bullying, racism…

All examples and sings of society´s alienative and marginalizing, oppressive side. Examples and signs of how people’s connection with themselves, with each other and with the world is becoming more fragile.

Who has the power to define? Who should have that?

On the systemic level, for example, like Sami said, we have organizations which are competing with each other trying to maintain their prestige with the next project funding in mind. So, more and more unique problems of humanity are emerging at least in discourses.

What we are going to have is a mass production of otherness.

Could we do better?

It is obvious that the current zeitgeist demands more from the individuals and the communities, at least on the psychological and spiritual level.

What happens to the people and to the issues these organizations work to defend?

We see that there’s a lack of culture, a lack of collaboration, not to mention a lack of practices in the professional context, with the integrity to hold on to humanity, societal awareness and critical thinking that would lead individuals and communities to one´s path, to find their unique passion and strengthen the capabilities required to reach that.  

We need action through connection within unity

What we need are agents, working together, aiming at establishing hope and improving possibilities for people, communities and the society as a whole to thrive by developing policies where for example systemic flaws and authoritarian purposes are recognized and an awarenesses is being deepened. Needed are actions that enable and empower people to take control of their own lives, to act constructively and to strive for change. This is maybe old story but crucial. And we have to take it to better level.

First of all, this requires courage to encounter and to live in the core of uncertainty, and it requires integrity, but what it especially requires is the ability to ask the right questions, for example..

  • As a professional, how my own personal growth and development impacts to people i try to help, understand society in us..
  • Or how my concept of human affects in these encounterments?
  • What is the role of power relations in all this?
  • What is emancipative encounterment in practise? And how can we success in that?

So, it requires to see what is essential, relevant, and the ability to hold on that wisdom and transform that to change.

KRIGO was established from passion and vocation.

It´s our modest but courageous contribution to hope and change.

It´s about work hard for the actualisation of my actions in one´s experience.

So why we need this, cause action is the first thing to do.