Aug 1, 2014

A letter to the Vaga Lume project

Maria de Fatima's original letter
Maria de Fatima's original letter

Dear supporter,

We search for evidence of Vaga Lume’s impact on the lives of people from the Amazon region every day, but sometimes unexpected news simply arrive to overwhelm us and remind us that our work has a remarkable effect, that we are actually making a difference in the world. You, as our supporter, is also responsible for this impact, you make it possible. Therefore, today I would like to share with you a letter we have received last week from one of our volunteers from the Amazon.

Maria de Fátima lives in Água Fria, a rural community of Chapada dos Guimarães, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, and she has been a volunteer at the library there for two years. As she wrote in Portuguese, we have translated her very own words so that you can understand it. Here it goes:

“Água Fria, 21/06/2014

A letter to the Vaga Lume project

Today, June 21st, is my birthday. I am turning 37 years old, I am happy and I am writing to congratulate you for this project that brings strength and experience to our children.

I did not know it, but from the moment I heard about the project I fell in love with it, because I have two young children, Manoel and Gabriel. Manoel is very intelligent and reads a lot, he is 9 years old. Gabriel, who is 8, has some speaking problems that make it difficult for him to read. He has been treated by a speech therapist and he must have his nose operated, because it is what deters him from speaking fluently. I am worried about that. Manoel started reading when he was 6, but Gabriel still does not know how to read. Still, he loves the books and imagines the stories by the pictures.

Vaga Lume’s project has helped me to get a job at São José School. I needed reference and the capacitation course I received gave me credit, so I got it. I used to be a manicure, but today I work as a secretary at São José School. I am a volunteer at Vaga Lume’s library in my community and I do it with love.

We are partners with Projeto Mais Educação (More Education Project - Brazilian Federal government project) and with the school as well. All that is only possible because I am there and I manage to publicize Vaga Lume. Everyone is very happy for being able to teach, help the kids to read and travel through the world of imagination. My children are a proof of that. Manoel already knows how to read and I read to Gabriel, but soon he will also be able to do it by himself.

I take care of the books and I am responsible for the library. I will do whatever I can for the library to continue strong.

Thank you very much.

Maria de Fátima”

We are very happy to have Maria de Fátima as a volunteer and her letter gives us one more reason to continue working to create opportunities for cultural exchange through reading and valuing the protagonism of people from the Amazon. We hope you feel the same way!

Thank you for being part of it!

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

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

Kind regards,

Vaga Lume Team

Our last visit to Agua Fria
Our last visit to Agua Fria
Maria among other volunteers from Agua Fria
Maria among other volunteers from Agua Fria
Jun 18, 2014

Welcome to the Vaga Lume family!

Dear supporters!

We are very honoured to share the great surprise we experienced on our last Monitoring Expedition with you.

As you may know, Vaga Lume’s work is to enforce the collection of 160 community libraries in 23 municipalities of the Amazon region, as well as to form reading mediators to promote reading activities, but the community itself is responsible for managing the library. They own the collection, so they take care of it. But we also feel responsible for the libraries so, from times to times, we visit the municipalities to ensure that our mission and values are being respected and fulfilled.

From May 11th to 22nd, three members of the Vaga Lume team from São Paulo, Marina, Celice and Renata went to Santarém, in the Pará state, to monitor the volunteer work that has been carried out since our last visit, in 2011. Among the ten communities of Santarém, there is Murumuru, a “quilombola” community, which means its founders were fugitive slaves. As there had been a while since we were able to visit Murumuru’s community, they were not sure about the functioning of the library. They got emotional to find a very strong group of 17 young volunteers who had been users of the library since they were little kids, when Vaga Lume arrived there in 2008. Even more impressing, they met a whole family of volunteers engaged in the library! Nelcicleide and her three children got involved with the Vaga Lume library together!

"I volunteered for a long time and now encourage my children to participate in the library because I think it is very important for young people", said Nelcicleide. Her son Raianderson, who is 13, also mentioned: "I think I am the oldest volunteer at Vaga Lume at the moment! I began when I was in 3rd grade. It's been 5 or 6 years! My teacher Natalice invited me. I do reading activities in the community, lend books, participate in their other program, the Net Program, and I also write handmade books ... I think I'm a result of teacher Nathalice’s work and I like her very much! I'm 13, I'm in 8th grade and I am a volunteer at the library. "

The engagement of the people in the Murumuru community is a thermometer of how effective Vaga Lume’s work is. “Vagalume” in Portuguese means “firefly”, an insect that lights up the dark with its tiny tail, but it takes a lot of them for their light to become apparent. We provide books and we set an example of how to connect children with literature and reading, but our work only becomes expressive when the people from the communities act upon it, embrace it. Because of these volunteers from the Amazon, we feel like a big family of “vagalumes” glowing with the magic of books.

Thank you for being part of it!

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

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

Kind regards,

Vaga Lume Team

Nelcicleides daughter conducting reading activity
Nelcicleides daughter conducting reading activity
Nelcicleides family
Nelcicleides family
Mar 21, 2014

It takes a whole village to raise a child...

Biblioteca Crianca Feliz (Happy Child Library)
Biblioteca Crianca Feliz (Happy Child Library)

...but it takes only one child to change the village!

Dear supporters,

Today I am going to tell you the story of a changemaker. Rael is a young man who became a reference in his community after taking action by engaging other people towards the realization of his dream. He was born in Campina de São Benedito, a little community in the state of Amapá, in the Brazilian Amazon forest.

Rael was only 16 when he became a volunteer at our library project after being part of an event in which he was introduced to the values of the organization and trained to be a reading mediator. In 2011, even though he and the other volunteers were very dedicated to the project, the school where the library took place by the time closed due to the lack of teachers and the activities had to cease. Rael was not happy about that and, after a visit from the Vaga Lume team, he realized that the problem was the people in the community did not feel the library was theirs and he decided to do something.

In order to keep the project alive, Rael convinced 42 people to help him to organize and build a room, a little house to keep the books. However, before the actual construction, they had to organize parties, ask people from other communities for help and material as well as take other initiatives - together - to raise money. Little did he know that, during this process, the people would become aware of their power as a group and put their effort together for the common interest, even beyond his proposal. As a result, not only the library would have its own premises, but they were also able to bring new teachers to the community and reactivate the abandoned school.

For us, when the community takes the initiative of managing the library itself and the people see it as their own, not just borrowed books from someone else, Vaga Lume is closer to reaching its goals. The action of building the premises, which were inaugurated in 2013 during a Vaga Lume expedition to Macapá, is evidence that the people there are taking responsibility for the library. For that reason, we are very proud to inform you that initiatives like Rael´s give our work meaning. With your support, we are able to give young people the opportunity to become active, engage in their communities and change the reality they live in. Together, we empower amazon children by showing them other cultures and broadening their minds with books.

Nowadays, the people of Campina de São Benedito are proud to say they are related to Rael and we are proud to say we have motivated him. Aren´t you also proud? Well, you should be…

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

Feel free to drop us a line!

Kind thoughts,

Vaga Lume Team

Rael
Rael
Children reading at the library
Children reading at the library
Children inside the new library
Children inside the new library

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