Healthy soils are critical for global food production, but we are not paying enough attention to this important "silent ally," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said.. Healthy soils not only are the foundation for food, fuel, fibre and medical products, but also are essential to our ecosystems, playing a key role in the carbon cycle, storing and filtering water, and improving resilience to floods and droughts, he noted. The UN has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. At SINAL, a 500 acres acres farm we are inspiring the children of Santo Antonio Community, a ten thousand community outside of Rio, the love for soil. Doing compost, taking care of degraded land through several types of restoration, which called the attention of big environmental organizations that have joined the Bonn Challenge, www.thebonnchallenge.org. Restoring 150 million hectares by 2020 could sequester approximately 53 Gt CO2 e over the course of 50 years as well as injecting more than US$80 billion per year into local and national economies.
At SINAL we will be concentrating our work in 2015 in restoring the soil and doing this work with Children which will be the ones that will have to undertake this task in the years to come.
We hope you will join us in this endeavour! We need your help to cover the costs of an structures with instructors that can allow children to be with us.
Restoration of forests and soils. An idea which time has come! Each one of us has to contribute!
On September 23, the Spring Equinox, students and teachers from local schools came to Sinal to celebrate not only the first day of spring but also a new cycle of growth for Sinal das Criancas. We our new reforestation project, in which the young students will be part of the replanting of native Atlantic Forest trees-- species that have been identified as endangered by recent Brazilian legislation. They will help collect seeds, work in the nursery, and replant the saplings as they learn about the importance of conservation in their local lands. The project will begin with reforesting one of Sinal's nature trails, and the children will help in marking the endangered species we are protecting along the walking path.
In addition, our program focuses on empowering local youth to become protagonists in the social and environmental issues of the community of Santo Antonio. During the children's visit on the Spring Equinox, they were given an orientation of Sinal's property through a lesson on the cyclical pattern of nature and how we as humans can respect instead of destroy this cycle. They visited the dry toilet, the compost piles, and the natural bamboo treatment station, seeing how human waste can be transformed into nutrients for the plants we need. The kids are also learning about the connection between local plants and agriculture with the traditional foods and festivals of their community. Using music and theatre, we are teaching the importance of respect between man and nature, as well as the personal value each one has in preserving the environment.
The World Cup brought thousands of foreigners from all over the World to Brasil. At SINAL we hosted the Forum Future Goals 2014 - Youth Forum on Football for Social Change. 35 inspiring young people from 22 different countries were part of the event. Together, they explored how football has the potential to strengthen communities and create social change. Each participant represented a grassroots organisation from their local community that uses football to engage young people and teach them valuable life skills, whether it be preventing HIV/AIDS in Africa, fighting racism in Europe, or promoting gender equality in Latin America.
They were at SINAL from the 25th June till July 1st and had the opportunity to interact with the local community Santo Antonio. Almost every day there was an activity that they did together. They played football 3, a type of football that emphasizes collaboration instead of competition. The whole experience was very positive and several of the participants brought interesting lessons to their countries showed that indeed football can be a tool for changing the world
SINAL is located in Mata Atlantica, one of the hotspots for biodiversity. Mata Atlantica is also one of the most endangered biomas of Brasil. Only 7 % is left. It is located on the coast and one of the most urbanized areas of Brazil.
One of the missions of SINAL is to promote initiatives to restore the ecosystem. SINAL for children educate them to know about the Mata Atlantica, its fauna and flora. Children are encourage to walk through trails and learn about the names of birds, trees, pick fruits. They also participate in activities to plant trees and prepare the nursary.
SINAL is a living laboratory where volunteers from all over the world share their love for nature and other abilities with local children who do not have access to those resources One of the recurrent activities is tree planting and also collecting garbage.
Stimulating the expression of children with art is also one of the activities at SINAL. Children are estimulated to be creative and to reuse garbage materials to create their own toys. This year to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we will be organizing a gathering with children in which they will paint how they want to express our Earth taking from the experience at SINAL, which is surrounded by a reach nature.
Living so close to nature in the Atlantic Rainforest provides anyone who visits SINAL a deep appreciation and respect for nature. There is an abundance of trees, fruit, animals and plants that have infinite possibilities to help children create lasting connections to the natural world. SINAL has worked to create connections with nature by engaging children in projects that utilize the abundance of nature.
Our final semester of the year had children experimenting with materials on the property such as bamboo, young fruit trees, and local produce such as mangos. Lessons were centered around local materials that are in abundance on the farm. For example a big part of Brazilian culture for children is building and flying your own kite. Thus a lesson was dedicated to learning about bamboo, how to sustainably collect the material, and then using the bamboo to build kites. Later during the mango season children were taught about the mango tree, how to collect mangos using local bambo fruit pickers, and making fresh and healthy juice out of them along with other fresh fruit produce on the farm. Furthermore children were given opportunities to learn about cultivating plants in our Childrens Garden. Concepts such as caring for plants, growing them from local seeds, and harvesting the vegetables were all demonstrated.
SINAL looks forward to a happy and productive 2014 by building on our already successful program and showing children even more of the abundant nature that surrounds us. Thank you for all your donations and allowing our program to continue.
Love from SINAL
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Rio de Janeiro,
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