Oct 10, 2014

One step at a time

Vaga Lume Expedition Programme, responsible for taking literature books to Amazon children and training reading mediators to connect them, is structured in a network of 23 municipalities. In every municipality there are several rural communities and each of them owns its own library we have created and still maintain. According to the funding we receive and the demand from neighbour communities, we are able to create new libraries and achieve a greater public.

In 2009, we went on a partnership with a big private company and created a project to take the Expedition Programme to different municipalities. We were beginning to actually see the difference literature makes to the development of community people and we imagined how our work could be relevant to regional development in the long run. We wanted to grow on impact over the Brazilian Legal Amazon Region and provide education to all or at least most of amazon children.

As the company invested a great amount of money that outdid our regular expenses, we dared to create a third geographical level, besides municipalities and communities: “poles”. Every pole consisted of one municipality where Vaga Lume was already established and other one where we would implement new libraries. Our team worked intensely training new volunteers, engaging local governments, selecting collections and sending books from São Paulo to the Amazon.

After no more than one year, we had created 8 new libraries that demanded much more attention than the other ones and our team had not grown bigger. The new project started diverting from our regular activities, because our investor had too much influence in our work. Simultaneously, we were not able to deliver the immediate results they expected and, therefore, we ended the partnership.

After that experience, we have learnt two lessons: growing quantitatively does not necessarily mean growing qualitatively and although we should consider the interests of all stakeholders, we should not let investors alone interfere in our work. Currently, our plans include creating new libraries when the ones already established are settled and we are developing new forms of expanding which will keep up with the enlargement of our team. In search of financial sustainability, we are diversifying sources of funding and focusing on the power of individuals gathered by their will to help. We have learnt to take one step at a time!

Sep 30, 2014

Vaga Lume Congress 2014 was a huge success!

Volunteers at Reading Mediation workshop
Volunteers at Reading Mediation workshop

Dear supporters,

 

We are very happy to inform you we have managed to bring 76 volunteers and 16 municipal secretaries of education to the 7th Vaga Lume Congress that was held in Bertioga, state of São Paulo, from September 15th to 19th. For five days, the Vaga Lume team from São Paulo carried out workshops in order to train our volunteers at the Expedition Programme methodology and capacitate them to replicate it in their municipalities.

Vaga Lume Association works in three different levels: National, Municipal and Community level. The national level consists of the work carried out by the technical team of employees from São Paulo, who coordinate all 23 municipalities as well as institutional activities of the organization. The team of volunteers who work in the municipal level is called “Local team” and they are responsible for training volunteers to work in the libraries in the community level and monitoring all the libraries of their municipality. There are 23 local teams and each one of them elects a representative, who is responsible for all the communication between the local team and São Paulo.

The aim of the Vaga Lume Congress is the continuous training of the volunteers from local teams so that they can perform their activities as multipliers and articulate the community level. There are discussions on issues such as community management, the practice of voluntary work, fundraising and guidelines for training of mediators. Vaga Lume also promotes cultural exchange and experience sharing among the network of volunteer educators who live in different places from the Amazon region.

Parallel to the multiplier training, we gathered the representatives from local teams and the municipal secretaries of education to discuss public policy on education in their municipalities as well as the partnership with Vaga Lume Association.

The Vaga Lume Congress 2014 was a huge success! Check out the message we received from one of our volunteers, André, from Soure, Pará state:

“I just want to say thank you! Thank you for making me believe that a new world is possible , and that simple actions have the power to transform reality, thanks for sharing experiences, thanks for making me laugh and cry with emotion facing such beautiful gestures. I miss everyone already, but this is all, we need to work in our municipalities. What I have to tell you today is ‘I see you soon, large Vaga Lume family!’”

Thank you for supporting Vaga Lume!

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

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

Kindest regards,

Vaga Lume Team

 

Volunteer sharing his experiences
Volunteer sharing his experiences
Aug 27, 2014

Taking the next step: autonomy

Andre and his mother at their house in Cajuuna
Andre and his mother at their house in Cajuuna

Dear supporter,

Promoting the human right to education is not simply about physically providing books, building schools or employing teachers, it is about social innovation. Although those are very important and essential measures, Vaga Lume takes the next step towards full Education: empowering people. For 12 years, it has motivated children to search for knowledge and political autonomy while valuing traditional cultures. As a result, they become adults like André, whose story we are sharing with you today.

From last July 15th to 22nd, the Vaga Lume team from São Paulo went on a monitoring expedition to Soure, at the Para state. There we met André, an 18-year-old literature student at the University of Pará, Brazil. He has grown up in a small community called Cajuuna, at the rural area of Soure. In 2006, he met Vaga Lume’s work when visiting another community of Soure, Pesqueiro, and, according to him, he felt so amazed he wished there was one at his own community. His dream came true one year later, when his parents and their neighbours asked for a library and Vaga Lume donated a collection of brand new books to the Cajuuna community.

Ever since, André has been involved with Vaga Lume’s work. As a child, he attended reading activities and borrowed books. As a teenager, he was trained as a reading mediator and started carrying out the activities himself. When he was 16, he assumed a leadership role and became responsible for the library of Cajuuna, so far taking place at the local school.

Having decided to study literature, after he finished high school André was selected by the University of Pará. Although he then moved to the urban area and could no longer be responsible for the library of Cajuuna, he still wanted to be a volunteer, so he joined the local team of volunteers, in charge of monitoring the volunteers of the community and communicating with the Vaga Lume team from São Paulo. Therefore, on our last monitoring expedition, André joined us to visit all the communities and, when we were in Cajuuna, he motivated his friends to raise money to build a new room for the library, because the school is in no condition to have it anymore.

We also had a meeting with the municipality secretary of Education, Jocelma, who is very proud of him: “André is very good at writing. We know these libraries make a difference. We can perceive it through the evaluation indexes of the municipality”. According to him, Vaga Lume has inspired him to go to university. Being used to reading a lot, he became prepared for the selection process and he could choose his career.

André is an example of how young people can be empowered by reading. Today, we maintain over 150 libraries because we believe there are several Andrés in the Amazon about to be touched by the magic of books.

Thank you for supporting Vaga Lume!

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

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

Best wishes,

Vaga Lume Team

Young people from Cajuuna and Vaga Lume educators
Young people from Cajuuna and Vaga Lume educators
Andre doing Reading Mediation
Andre doing Reading Mediation
 
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