Feb 25, 2020

Memories of Childhood and Christmas Fairs

Valdete with her 'Childhood Memories' embroidery
Valdete with her 'Childhood Memories' embroidery

As this is our first report, we’d like to fill you in a little more about the Eldorado Textile Project.

Carol, our coordinator in Eldorado, is a former art teacher, now a freelance textile teacher passionate about teaching textiles. She teaches one day a week for the Eldorado Textile Project; two of the most experienced women from the group act as facilitators on a second day.

Carol writes: 

‘The Eldorado Textile Project arose in 2017 with an initiative to teach sewing skills to women living in a peripheral region of Diadema, São Paulo. In the course of these past years, participants who arrived with little or no experience in the world of sewing have discovered their capabilities as craftswomen and have increasingly felt skilled enough to create their own pieces of work. The project currently serves 25 women who meet weekly to sew, embroider and become more self aware. The items they make are sold in shops and fairs in Brazil and overseas, contributing to the family income of each one of them’.

Though making a small income is important as a way of increasing the women’s self esteem and confidence, earning money is not the only aim of the project. It has also generated a supportive textile community and a safe space where the participants can practice new skills, exchange ideas, and express their creativity. In the winter months of July and August, they were encouraged by Carol to draw and embroider their memories of childhood, creating pieces that were not intended for sale. This resulted in several depictions of a happy childhood in rural settings that contrast poignantly with the densely populated makeshift housing of Eldorado.

After two and a half years, the women’s skills have considerably improved and they have expanded their products from embroidered cushions to patchwork bags and embroidered guest towels. In November and December, 2019, they took part for the first time in a local Christmas fair and in two Christmas fairs in São Paulo city, where they sold a substantial amount of their work and were given much encouragement and advice. This was an encouraging step towards the sustainability of the group.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported this project, which through a women’s textile group is helping to transform a marginalised community in Brazil. If you are considering making a further donation, we would like to point out that we are participating in the ‘Little by Little’ Campaign, whereby donations up to $50 made between 23rd and 27th March will be matched at 50%.

Carol, coordinator and teacher
Carol, coordinator and teacher
Fatima, a facilitator from the group
Fatima, a facilitator from the group
Christmas fair in Eldorado
Christmas fair in Eldorado
'Eldorado Textiles' at Christmas fair in Sao Paulo
'Eldorado Textiles' at Christmas fair in Sao Paulo
Jan 27, 2020

What an Impact!

Graduation
Graduation

In 2019 we have shared some great narrative reports about the project and now we would like to share the results of the evaluations we did which show how important your contributions have been to change the lives of teenagers and children.

We had two target groups for this project: the teenagers who delivered it and the elementary school children who received the sessions at school delivered by the teenagers. For the 8 teenagers, we did a baseline and endline survey (using sets questions that have been validated by USAID for use in different cultures) to measure their development over the four and a half months of project and for the school children, we did an anonymous survey with 24 teachers, pedagogical coordinators and head teachers from the four partner schools.

The results for the teenagers are as follows:

On average, they improved their capacity to interpret texts and to write what they think, whilst they didn't improve their knowledge of African and Indigenous Culture. They improved their capacity for emotional control, being less impulsive and thinking more about the consequences of their actions and how they affect others. They now think about how their decisions will affect themselves in the future and have developed a better balanced decision making process. By the end, all of the teenagers had at least one peer with whom they could discuss their problems and on whom the could rely for support and help. They also should a strengthened attachment and integration with their own neighbourhood by the end of the project. They also had a strengthened sense of self and belief in their own capacity to deal with the things that come up in their own lives, solving things on their own.

The results of the evaluation about the elementary school done with staff are as follows:

100% of respondents believe that the project delivered by ACER is positive, that it contributes to the improvement of the children's achievement in class and that the children use their imagination more, in addition they stated that the activities are aligned and help the school to deliver the curriculum; over 90% noted an increased interest in reading amongst the children as well as improved classroom behaviour. All the activities were classified by at least 79% of respondents as being great or good and their view of the teenagers delivering the project is that 100% of the time the were totally or frequently attentive, polite, dedicated, affectionate and interested in what they were doing; when asked about how the children saw the teenagers, they attributed 9.6/10 as to the admiration demonstrated, 95% said that the children respected them as much as the teachers and all stated that the children bonded with them. Finally, whilst 58% of respondents felt that having sessions once a fortnight was good, 42% thought that the sessions should be weekly.

We look forward to having your continued support for our project this year of 2020 and please spread the word amongst your friends so that we can bring ever more impact.

In school
In school
The joy of reading
The joy of reading
Dec 9, 2019

A New Partnership

Signing Ceremony
Signing Ceremony

On October 12th, Brazilian Children’s Day, we signed a new partnership with SESI Diadema which has excellent all weather training facilities in order that we can develop our rugby programme there. The change of space was necessary to help our children to have a broader experience and more enthusiasm for the practice of sport and with this new structure we expect to attend 120 children and young people. 

Wedja, one of ACER Brasil's youth monitors and keen rugby player shared with us a little about her experience before and after this partnership: ''This change of space helped me and my teammates a lot, it was very important to give the team a boost, I used to see that people were not working so hard to help with the development of the activities, but now everyone helps each other, strives to have the best class possible, and it is very pleasant to see that there has been a change in the attitude of the majority. This contributing to a greater good is priceless, I did not know rugby until I started playing at ACER and today I can say that I am extremely passionate about the sport and that this has opened many more doors in my life, next year I will try for an athlete's scholarship in college, I'm very confident, the training we do here is making me evolve a lot in terms of techniques and fundamentals, this is essential for the practice of any sport.''

Carlos, newcomer to rugby activities at ACER, shared a bit about how these first steps in the sport are going; "I didn't know rugby until the boys called me to participate in practice, I'm really enjoying how this experience is, I'm learning a lot, when I don't know how to do things the boys help me; when I ask the teachers they explain no matter how many times I need it, and it makes me very comfortable about it, I'm very happy here and in such a short time everyone has become my family, I'm so grateful to be here.”

 
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