Jun 22, 2020

Quarantine in Eldorado and Plans for the Future

Maria Lucia with a sample of her embroidery
Maria Lucia with a sample of her embroidery

The community of Eldorado, with its overcrowded housing, overstretched public health services, and dependence on an informal economy, has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 24th, a period of quarantine was initiated in São Paulo State, which was recently extended to June 28th. 

Just before ACER was closed, our resourceful teacher, Carol, distributed materials to the women so that they could continue sewing at home. Since then she has been keeping in touch with them via their WhatsApp group and personal WhatsApp calls. We are currently looking at ways of getting more materials to them via the parcels of emergency food and cooking gas currently being delivered by ACER each month.

We asked the women how they are managing during quarantine. Viviane writes, ‘Right now I feel trapped, anxious, worn out from the routine of three children at home. And the embroidery helps to distract me. It calms me down a little.' Aline tells us, ‘I feel helpless because I can’t do much at home. I have two daughters, who are right here, so I have to look after them and help them with school work. Like this I can’t help financially. The handwork and embroidery helps me to relax in this chaos. I get anxious and depressed and the activities help to calm me and continue with the household tasks.’ Fátima writes simply, ‘Embroidery is my gift every day, a time I have for myself and which I love to do. Miss our classes.’

Now for the good news! Our vision for establishing a thriving textile community at the ACER community centre has recently been given a boost through a generous donation for industrial standard sewing equipment and better lighting and ventilation for the sewing room. This will enable an exciting new vocational course for young people from the community with a focus on ethical, sustainable fashion. If restrictions have sufficiently eased, the planned start date is 1st August, when schools normally reopen after the winter holidays.

The pandemic will have disastrous consequences for the local economy. For the past three years the Eldorado Textile Project has provided a creative outlet and an opportunity for women living in a marginalised area to earn a modest income. Your donations are keeping alive a supportive textile community and will give some local young people a chance to change their lives.

If you are considering making a donation, please note that there are two upcoming GlobalGiving Campaigns that give a percentage of matching funding: the July Bonus Day on 15th July for donations from $100 to $1000 and a ‘Little by Little’ Campaign in September for donations of up to $50. Thank you so much for your support during these difficult times!

Atenizia selecting fabric in the ACER sewing room
Atenizia selecting fabric in the ACER sewing room
Eliane with her selection for embroidery
Eliane with her selection for embroidery
Viviane with a tea towel for embroidering
Viviane with a tea towel for embroidering
Apr 27, 2020

Parents talk to us

Mariana with Mother Aline
Mariana with Mother Aline

In times of corona virus as the schools are closed, we decided to take the opportunity to interview the parents of some of the shcool children who benefit from the project and share them with all of our supporters. Aline is the mother of Mariana who studies at a large elementary school in the neighbourhood and has this to say: "She tells me how great the stories are, that the reading mediators play with them and it is great fun. I believe that the reading programme contributes to the development of speech and the imagination and helps her with her emotions and to acquire knowledge. The project is not just reading, there is the interaction with the children and this develops affection; the games they play after the story are great and Mariana likes them a lot! Its lovely to see her bring them home, she likes to read to her sister at home. This is great! We love it! Thank you to everyone who is part of the project."

Two mothers from Annete Melchioretto elementary school were also very positive in their comments: Vilma, Lorena's mother tells us "she always talks about the activities and loves the young people, I think it is all great and we should not stop with the activities for children from the neighbourhood - ACER is a channel for social development." Lívia's mother Liziane shares "she always takes part and says how much she likes the reading; she has developed a lot and is more clever and her motor coordination has improved a lot, she is more responsible and it is helping her development."

It is very gratifying for us to hear from the parents how much our project is contributing to the children's development both in class and at home. As can be felt in Vilma's comment, the children are losing out on many things not being able to go to school at this time and, to help the parents and children, the young people are doing live story telling sessions three times a week on Instagram; we are looking forward to being back with the children in school as soon as possible.

Lorenna with mum Vilma
Lorenna with mum Vilma
Mar 10, 2020

New challenges: trying out for the City team

In action
In action

Several of our older young men and women took part in a selection process for the São Paulo City rugby teams at the end of January and beginning of February which took a lot of encouragement and courage on their part as most have only been playing rugby for two to three years.

However it is a testament to their athleticism and the quality and dedication of the coaches and the athletes in our Diadema Rhinos team that two of the girls were selected for the under 19 team and one boy in each of the under 17 and under 19 teams. Gabriela tells us "when I am playing I get a really good feeling that makes me very happy. My objective now is to play with focus until the end of every game and session, carry on playing and try to make my future in rugby. I loved this experience and thank ACER for the opportunity as it has always contributed a lot for me to be the person I am today."

Both young women have been invited to train at the elite athletes trainging centre for rugby in São Paulo after the competition that they participated in is over. Wedja also found the experience very special "it was my first ever championship in two years playing rugby and was also the first time I travelled out fo the city to play. It made me very happy, I really enjoyed meeting new people, other cultures, it was marvellous! Especially because it was doing something that I love which is playing rugby, and it is something that I want to take with me into adult life. I have heard there will be another championship at the end of the year and so I am going to train really hard so that I can play even better."

With this spirit, we can see how the project and rugby are developing young adults into really positive people who will contribute to their families and community.

Playing
Playing
Full contact
Full contact
 
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