Jul 16, 2015

First Stop of "Vaga Lume 15 years Expedition"

Story telling at Ms. Edna's home
Story telling at Ms. Edna's home

Vaga Lume returns to the Amazon with the “Vaga Lume 15 years Expedition”

During a four-month expedition, educators will be traveling to the organization’s libraries in the rural Brazilian Amazon in order to evaluate the project’s progress within the last 14 years

 

Vaga Lume’s history begins with three friends traveling throughout the Amazon to get to know and to better understand the region and its inhabitants. After traveling for some time, it became clear that there was a severe lack of investment in education in the region and extremely poor access to books. It was then that Vaga Lume was born, the first project being the Expedition program, which to this day continues to create greater access to books and to literacy by means of the “triplet” methodology: the donation of literature books; the training of volunteers to be reading mediators; and the incentive for community management of the libraries.

 

For the first time since the founding of the organization, and approaching the 15th anniversary celebration, Vaga Lume will go back to each one of the 159 participating rural communities in 23 municipalities* throughout the Brazilian Legal Amazon region. Nine Vaga Lume educators will spend more than 150 days traveling to the communities that have been participating in the project. This trip was “baptized” as the “Vaga Lume 15 years Expedition” and has already started, with the first visit having taken place on June 11th, 2015.

 

“The goal of such an expedition is to return to all of the participating communities and to evaluate the current status of the project in each one, along with auditing the work that has already been done. Since 2001, the project has reached more than 22,000 children and young-adults and has distributed more than 86,328 new literature books. We are so proud of all we have accomplished!” says Sylvia Guimarães, one of Vaga Lume’s three founders and current president. It is important to say that, throughout time, Vaga Lume has always been aware of the cultural and educational actions taking place in its libraries, considering whether something was the best strategy, which modifications would bring about the best improvements, and how to reflect on the results. The difference in the Vaga Lume 15 years Expedition is the fact that all 159 libraries will be visited, and evaluated, at once!

 

And, the good news is that we already have an amazing story to share with you since the start of our expedition! It is about an incredible woman that has helped to carry out Vaga Lume’s mission on Marajo Island, in the northeast of the state of Para. Ms. Edna Maria Vasconcelos Silva is 55 years old and a teacher. Edna used to live in a rural community called Fazenda do Desterro (Desterro Farm) where she used to manage the Vaga Lume community library with kids and locals. After a few years, she moved to the small city of Soure, where she plays an important role on the city’s board of education. She is part of the Vaga Lume’s Local Team, which connects the Technical Team, based in São Paulo, to the rural communities of the Amazon. The Local Team also supports local needs related to volunteer training, receiving and distributing books, the development of partnerships with the Municipal Secretariat of Education, local companies and organizations, etc.

Last week, three of Vaga Lume’s educators, Aline, Lohana and Luisa, visited Soure and found out that Ms. Edna had assembled, in her own home, a collection of literature books, similar to the ones Vaga Lume donates to its libraries! She did this so that everySaturdaychildren from her neighborhood could participate in story-telling sessions and enjoy reading moments.

Ms. Edna’s efforts along with those of three thousand other Vaga Lume trained volunteers, are what make a difference every single day in these communities! We believe that adult engagement is crucial to reinforcing and improving childhood education. We are so proud to say that we are a part of these people’s lives and helping to make a difference! You are in this with us, so we celebrate these accomplishments together!

In short, it is needless to say that all these accomplishments are only made possible because of you! YOU have certainly made a difference. Thank you very much for your support to Vaga Lume.

Other stories and news articles are available at http://www.vagalume.org.br/home

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to drop us a line!

Warm regards,

Thais and Laura, on behalf of the very proud Vaga Lume Team.

 

*Belém, Castanhal, Soure, Barcelos, São Gabriel, Macapá, Chapada dos Guimarães, Campinápolis, Santarém, Oriximiná, Tefé, Uarini, Ponte Alta do Tocantins, Caracaraí, Pacaraima, Portel, Breves, Carauari, Cruzeiro do Sul, Ouro Preto do Oeste, Barreirinhas, Mirinzal, Guimarães.

Girl enjoying reading at Ms. Edna's home
Girl enjoying reading at Ms. Edna's home
Ms. Edna at her home
Ms. Edna at her home
Vaga Lume educators with Ms. Edna
Vaga Lume educators with Ms. Edna
Story telling at Ms. Edna's home
Story telling at Ms. Edna's home
May 18, 2015

Building Engagement!

House chosen to become the library (blue one)
House chosen to become the library (blue one)

Vista Alegre Community, Roraima State – Building Engagement!

 

Dear Friend,

 

Vaga Lume's project was created 14 years ago in order to facilitate access to books and libraries to the Amazon people from rural areas. It’s important to mention that the methodology applied considers that reading should be part of a pleasant routine for children, teenagers and adults. Also, that Vaga Lume doesn’t build the structure of the library; they receive literature books, shelves and mats together with a great lot of experience gathered throughout the years on how to effectively run libraries in small isolated villages so kids can acquire the taste and enthusiasm for reading.

The library you’ll see now was first installed inside a school. It is located in a rural area called Vista Alegre, near Boa Vista city, within the State of Roraima. Until recently, children could only borrow books during the week, since the school was closed during weekend, preventing people’s access to the library.

Last December, a group of Vaga Lume’s educators - Celice, Marcia and Paulo- went to Vista Alegre for a monitoring and evaluation expedition. They had a meeting with all those interested in the library and they decided together that the best way to gain full access to such facility was to build an exclusive space for the library! The problem was that although they were willing to do it, they didn’t have the money for that. So, the educators shared their experiences and called everybody to act together in this challenging enterprise! Some of Vaga Lume’s volunteers and many children understood they needed to engage people from local businesses and their surroundings to get the library built. The educators came back to São Paulo leaving behind a movement that soon would bring the library into action. On March 27th, the new community library of Vista Alegre, outside of the school and with its own exclusive space, opened for the first time! Can you imagine their emotion? And ours?

Some children sent messages to Celice, one of the educators, after they finished painting the library saying,

“Hi Celice, I’m Ana Vitória, I helped a lot! Although I still don’t know how to read, I helped a lot!”

“Hi, my name is Celia, we moved the library out to Alberto Ribeiro’s house and today our team painted the walls!”

“Hi Celice, my name is Maria Luiza, and I painted the house. I‘m going to read to all children that want me to do so!”

If you want to see the building process and the community´s engagement, watch this video done by Vaga Lume’s volunteers to keep the memory of their successful enterprise:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw-FnvuSvk8&feature=youtu.be

Needless to say that all these accomplishments are only possible because of you! Thank you very much for your support and attention to Vaga Lume! We are very motivated to support people in creating their own libraries and the donations we receive from you really make it happen!

In that sense, it is time to say, once more, thank you! By donating to Vaga Lume, YOU have made it possible. You are in this with us, so we should celebrate this together!

Other stories and news are available at www.vagalume.org.br/english.

If you have any doubts or comments, do drop us a line!

 

Best regards,

Thais, on behalf of the very proud Vaga Lume Staff

Children painting inside the library
Children painting inside the library
Children painting inside the library
Children painting inside the library
Maria Luiza painting
Maria Luiza painting
Children from Vista Alegre Community
Children from Vista Alegre Community
Mar 19, 2015

It's about empowerment!

Tassia during reading mediation session for kids
Tassia during reading mediation session for kids

Benguí Library, city of Belém, Pará State – It’s about empowerment!

Dear supporter,

In Brazil, on March, 8th we also celebrated International Women’s Day and even though Vaga Lume doesn’t have a feminist agenda, our mission to provide quality education to around 24,000 children that live in the 158 rural communities of 23 municipalities of the Brazilian Legal Amazon region can empower children, young people and also women.

We have told you many stories and the one we are going to tell now is about a girl, called Tassia, that little by little became an empowered woman. She lives in Belém, the capital of Para state, specifically in a slum called Benguí. This girl is eighteen years old and she had her first contact with the Vaga Lume when she was eleven. She has just succeeded in a college admission exam, and is now a student of Pedagogy at the Federal University of Para. We would like to invite you to be as inspired as we were by the happiness and empowerment she shows in a letter she sent to us, Vaga Lume São Paulo Team.

 

“2015, January 1st

My first contact with Vaga Lume’s project happened when I was 11 years old. I was invited to be part of a collective reading mediation session at the Friends of Reading Library (Biblioteca Amigos da Leitura), a community library established in Benguí by teacher Ana Cabral (nowadays its coordinator). I had always been encouraged to read and write by my parents so it was awesome to see the library for the first time on the street where I live. There were so many books that I couldn’t leave the place! When I was a child I found very interesting and wanted to be part of an ecological or environmental cause, defending animals… Vaga Lume’s project reached my life in a brilliant way, since I made my dream of being part of a social project come true. It was an opportunity to be who I really wanted to be!

Once, I received from Ana a simple notebook. She asked me to write down my ideas and opinions about reading mediation sessions and about the library. I decorated the notebook with many stickers and I wrote my texts. I always asked myself why a person would try to get a kid to share her thoughts since, for most people, children’s opinions are not very significant. As the time passed by, I met people from the São Paulo Team and in 2009 I participated in the 4th Vaga Lume Conference, in Santarem city, here in Para state. I flew on a plane for the first time; I left my city for the first time; I became enchanted for those that now I can call friends, Celice Oliveira and Sylvia Guimarães; and I realized they were people I could see myself being like in the future. I received an orange T-shirt and I realized that Vaga Lume wouldn’t leave my life soon: it wasn’t a simple library, or a simple T-shirt, it was me becoming someone in this big world!

When there were some difficulties in my life, I’d drown myself into the desire to be an educator, into the dream to be someone that puts sincere smiles upon the faces of children that go to reading mediation sessions. I entered in other projects, some of them even at the international level, and I grew up. I became a political activist and I have eight years working experience with children and teenagers as well as a human rights defender. I finished middle school as an official member of the Friends of Reading Library Team, which is right next to my home, in the suburb of Belem, Benguí neighborhood.

When I faced questions about my career, I didn’t have many doubts: in a way, I was already an educator. By the end of 2013, for the first time, I took a college admission exam and the results weren’t good enough. During 2014 I studied hard all months in a preliminary school, dividing my time between my job, volunteering programs, and many other actions, events and responsibilities. I used many books from the library in order to improve my reading skills and critical sense. On 2015, January 24th, I was approved as second runner up for Pedagogy Course at the Federal University of Para.

Vaga Lume Association has completely merged into my life’s history (…). It’s been almost eight years since I am a Vaga Lume (a firefly, in Portuguese) and I am sure that I will keep dressing this orange T-shirt for many more years.”

Tássia”

 

Tassia is one of the 24 thousand children from the Amazon encouraged by Vaga Lume’s work to be a sensible and strong leader, already influencing her generation and, as an educator, possibly the coming ones. This is the impact of Vaga Lume that we will not see translated into numbers. Actually, although this is not our mission, it is a very welcomed side effect: by reading and having access to information, people become empowered and able to realize their full potential, just like Tassia is doing!

So it is time to say, once more, thank you! By donating to Vaga Lume, YOU have made it possible. You are in this with us, so we should celebrate this together! We wish you all the kindness you have provided to our children from the Amazon!

Other stories and news are available at www.vagalume.org.br/home   

If you have any doubts or comments, do drop us a line!

 

Best regards,

Thais, on behalf of the very proud Vaga Lume Staff

Tassia receives a certificate of multiplier
Tassia receives a certificate of multiplier
Tassia volunteering at the Library
Tassia volunteering at the Library

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.