Jul 6, 2021

African & Indigenous History and Culture

The Team
The Team

Well over half of the Brazilian population is descended from African and Indigenous peoples but teaching about their history and society in schools only became obligatory for the former in 2003 and the latter in 2008. As such, very few public school teachers know how to deliver teaching in these subjects nor are there many text books which is why we have chosen to focus on these areas for the stories we deliver to the children in schools. As the young reading mediators also have almost no knowledge, we give a lot of training for them to deliver the project with quality.

We interviewed all three of them and here are some snippets: 

“The stories about Africa are really great, I'm learning more about African culture and I'm able to share some of what I learn with the children. I'm learning a lot about the history of things and how and where they came from, and especially from great figures like Nelson Mandela, who I have particularly become a big fan of his history, and how a single person can become so important to an entire country." - Ryan.

“Telling stories and learning about Africa is being a totally new and very gratifying experience, I'm really enjoying it, because I believe it's very important for us to pass on this knowledge about a little bit of our roots as well, because Brazil comes down to this briefly: diversity; and the work we do with children, bringing stories inspired by events that took place in several countries on the African continent or in theories and versions to explain why things are, etc., all of this activates and stimulates creativity, knowledge and the imagination of these children, in addition to helping them to have this basic notion of knowledge about the African continent." - Emily

“I think it's really cool that kids are interested in African culture and they're always surprised that there's always a story to explain everything. We always try to bring African books and every Thursday we tell a story and it varies between a week about Africa and a week about Brazilian indigenous culture. What I learned the most from my days here in the project is that Africana culture is very rich and little explored, and children always think it's cool and are very interested in something new that is so different." - Pedro.

Reading the interviews inspires us to cpontinue with the focus we have, confident of its importance to the children and young people.

Puppet Theatre
Puppet Theatre
Talking about the Play
Talking about the Play
May 13, 2021

How rugby has changed me for the better.

Selfie!
Selfie!

Wedja, 19, was a student during rugby classes at the Rinos Diadema City team and in 2017 received the opportunity to work as an intern in ACER's sports department until the end of 2019. In addition, she also participated of championships with the Rinos, and she tells us a little of how it positively impacted her life:

“Rugby was a new experience for me, something I had not experienced before. So it was very different, because I had a sense of what football was, but when I met Rugby I saw that it is totally different. I was very scared, but after I started practicing I was able to visit new places because I had championships far from here so I had to go play, I met a lot of people, I also met the Brazilian Women's Rugby Team at NAR (High Performance Sports Center) which is where they train, I watched professional Rugby games, after all, after starting to play rugby my life has changed a lot. And I can pass this on to the children I used to train, even though I didn't work much with rugby, it was more with futsal, but at times I managed to pass some activities on to them and it was very good too. And to this day, I still have a little fear of the physicality of rugby, but it is good to play and I am really missing it. I also participated in a championship in the São Paulo State team and it was very good, even though we didn't get the hoped for result, even so it was very good for all the experience and all the conviviality, for having met people from other states like Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul amongst others. So it brought something very good to my life, new experiences, new people, new learnings and also the respect and all the other meanings that rugby brings to me, because even though it is a competition we know how to respect others ”.

And earlier this year, Wedja returned to be part of the ACER sports department, now as a female futsal teacher and she tells us how rugby helped her professional growth, her expectations and how it feels to be part of ACER once again:

“To this day, I take all the values of rugby with me: love, which is the love of the team, the players and the coaches so that's why I continue my life having love for the things I do, for the people who care about me and who I care about. Living responsibly by having responsibility with the games, with your team and with your coaches is something very important too, and that until today I have been keeping with me, I already had responsibility before but rugby brought me a very different view: that responsibility is something that you have to prioritize a lot in your life. And the other concept is respect, that is with everyone, even if rugby is a sport, let's say an aggressive one, respect was not lacking. There was no lack of respect for the referee, respect for the opponent even though we were there to win the game, but always respecting others. I still have this with me, I respect all the people around me very much, even those who do not deserve it, but it is something to be human, to have respect. And to this day, I take all these vlaues with me, all these teachings and learnings, even though I stopped playing rugby for a while, but it is still part of my life, because it was for a long time, for two or three years, so it’s something that I’ll always take with me. I will never forget that and wherever I go, I will say that I played rugby ”

At a match
At a match
Playing
Playing
Playing for the state
Playing for the state
Apr 12, 2021

Ryan returns to ACER

Ryan
Ryan

Along with Stephanie, we also have three new reading mediators at the project who passed through a rigorous selection process with over 50 candidates. One of them is Ryan, a 17 year old young man just starting the last year of high school and who is, in his words, returning to ACER: "I wanted to become part of this project in order to develop my independence and also help out at home (financially) and especially to return to ACER which held an important and central place in my childhood."

He has very much enjoyed coming back to our community centre and meeting up with staff he has known before, now as a colleague. After doing their initial training, the group had started giving their first story telling sessions at our community centre (as schools remain closed due to the pandemic) when, due to the worsening Covid situation, ACER had to close its centre and once again we have had to move online. This, for Ryan, has been extremely challenging "the most difficult thing for me has been having to film sessions from home. I have never done this before and am not comfortable with cameras, but I have insisted and gradually I am getting there!"

There has however been a new opportunity which he has enjoyed much more; with the centre closed, all the staff and youth monitors have gone out to the community to the homes of the families to interview them on their doorsteps with rigorous sanitary care being taken. In  Ryan's words "I have really enjoyed doing the survey, I went to about 10 houses which are not far from where I live but with people I didn't know before. The people received us really well and were pleased to reply to all the questions we asked and for me it was nice to know that they live (really challenging) lives very similar to me, no better, no worse."

So even with unexpected challenges, we are still finding new ways to help develop the young men and women from the project and better prepare them for adult life and the different jobs they will have one day.

10 year old Ryan at the centre
10 year old Ryan at the centre
Story telling with objects for the camera
Story telling with objects for the camera
 
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