Sep 29, 2021

Art & Community Mobilization Report: June-Sep 2021

Quilombolas receive emergency aid
Quilombolas receive emergency aid

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

Today we’d like to tell you about a new strand of our work:

Reaching Traditional Peoples and Communities

As some of you know, Bahia is a stronghold of indigenous peoples, quilombolas (the former enslaved who historically set up refuge communities or ‘quilombos’ after fleeing slavery), traditional communities of African origin religions, extractivists, riverside dwellers, indigenous caboclos, artisanal fishermen and others. These peoples and communities live far from the large centers, which makes it especially difficult for services and benefits to reach them.

In Camaçari, a few kilometers away from our community, you can find the Quilombolas of Cordoaria, with whom we have worked for almost 2 years; work that has become more frequent and necessary during the pandemic. In the neighboring municipality (Lauro de Freitas), we have also supported the Quilombo of Quingoma.

Through partnerships with private companies, public services, grant funding and your continued and valued donations, we have been able to serve 200 female-headed families from these communities. Most of them are beijuzeira women (who make traditional beiju pancakes) from the Farinha de Cordoaria (Camaçari) and Bela Vista (Lauro de Freitas) flour houses. During the pandemic, staple food baskets and food vouchers worth BRL 200.00 have been distributed to each family over two stages.

This intervention has been going on for 6 months, supporting women who are unable to sell their products because of the pandemic, most of whom live exclusively on the income from these sales. As we work with them, it is common to hear young women, matriarchs and the elderly thanking our work team for the emergency aid provided through your donations and “praying” for us and for you, our supporters.

As a result of this work, one of our grant funding proposals has been approved. This is aimed at continuing to provide these communities with food and political education, which is the main focus of Viva a Vida’s work, in addition to workshops on black entrepreneurship for beijuzeira women (to resume and enhance their sales), a T-shirt graffiti workshop for young people (so that they can learn a new trade and to guarantee some income) and storytelling for children about the Quilombo community (to maintain their traditions and foster the historical recovery of the region).

We are so emotional, because no one ever remembers us. But the NGO [Viva a Vida] never forgets” said Maria Conceição, who is 67 years old and from the Cordoaria Quilombo.

When I was healthy I used to run everywhere to bring food to my 8 children, now my age doesn't let me, I'm so glad you are here” said Dona Paulina, who is 80 years old and from the Quingoma Quilombo.

Other activities we have run over the last three months include:

Regular Work:

a) Classes: this year, our classes are taking place between May and December for more than 1,000 high school students from the Vila de Abrantes High School. Youth Worker Marcos Paulo tackles subjects such as Human Rights, Racism and Violence, as well as Poetic Writing. These activities are part of the Complementary Curriculum Activity of the State Department of Education, which has made its online platform available to Viva a Vida when classes have to be conducted virtually.

b) Global Fund For Children’s (GFC) CEO Group:

Évelin Salles, Viva a Vida’s Coordinator and Cressida Evans, our international consultant, have continued to participate in this group, representing various projects from around the world. These monthly meetings are aimed at strengthening organizations and provide an opportunity to discuss institutional demands, assessment instruments and new circumstances with our partners. The group has given Viva a Vida the opportunity to think about new methods for action, in addition to playing a fundamental role in energizing us to carry on in the struggle to keep the institution's mission alive.

c) Grant funding:

Viva a Vida has applied for 4 grants, one of which has been approved by the Ecumenical Coordination of Service (Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço: CESE), while we are waiting for the outcome of three others: one from the UK-based Volant Trust and one from the State of Bahia’s Department for the Promotion of Equality (Secretaria de Promoção da Igualdade do Estado da Bahia: SEPROMI), both to support our work in the quilombos, with Political Training for women, young people and children. The final grant is from the State Department of Culture's Culture in the Palm of your Hand (Cultura na Palma da Mão) grant for four virtual presentations of our play Independencia with live streamed debates about the its themes, particularly focussing on racism and to add sign language translation to Viva a Vida’s official video of the performance.

Workshop:

On 16 September we ran a workshop with project families from the Vida Adiante Institute, assisted by SOS Villages, providing emergency aid (staple food baskets and hygiene kits), and addressing risk and protective factors against drug abuse, with an emphasis on the importance of demonstrating love and affection within the family during the pandemic. Thirty families participated in the workshop and talked about their experiences as women, mothers and heads of their families.

Emergency aid:

JULY – 200 Families were assisted by the NO HUNGER project, a partnership between the volunteer group ATADOS and the NGO GERANDO FALCÕES. Families from the Quilombos of Cordoaria and Quingoma, women from the Vida Adiante Institute’s Project, indigenous groups from Vila de Abrantes and Lauro de Freitas, and Viva a Vida beneficiaries all received emergency aid.

JUNE - 100 Families from the Quilombo de Cordoaria, 95% of whom are female heads of households, received staple food baskets donated by a large private company in the region.

Many thanks, as ever for your amazing support, which has enabled us to reach some of the most vulnerable young people and families during these difficult times!

Viva a Vida's emergency aid distribution team
Viva a Vida's emergency aid distribution team
Young people supporting local mothers
Young people supporting local mothers
Supporting quilombola families
Supporting quilombola families
Jun 1, 2021

Art & Community Mobilization Report: Feb - June 21

Launch of our documentary 'Lifting up Ideas'
Launch of our documentary 'Lifting up Ideas'

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

We hope you are continuing to stay safe and are able to access vaccines and all the other measures required to stay well.

New pathways in the midst of the pandemic! 

Viva a Vida’s work is entirely focused on the community, in a large part on the region’s public schools. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, at one point we almost thought that Viva a Vida’s core work would no longer be able to continue. But with 16 years in the fight for Human Rights and the anti-racist struggle, and with so much commitment to our young participants who need us, once again, we have reinvented Viva a Vida.

 As you know, activities have been moved online and, with the support of your donations, we decided to put into practice one of our great dreams: to launch a documentary about Drug Policy, something that may seem remote, but which has a direct impact on the daily lives of the young people in our community.

Although we did not have many funds for recording, through great partnerships with the Federal University of Bahia, the Black Initiative for a New Drugs Policy, the Run to a Hug Program and OKAN Videos, we have been able to realize our dream.

“ASCENDENDO IDEIAS”, or “LIFTING UP IDEAS: for a New Drug Policy”,is our new documentary addressing the construction of Brazil’s drug policy and topics ranging from religion, drug trafficking, child labor, public safety, racism, the genocide of the black population, public policy and harm reduction.

With all the material recorded, we received some essential funding from the Global Fund for Children (GFC) to launch the documentary, with a live transmission of a debate with well-known specialists on Viva a Vida’s YouTube channel and that of the State College of Vila de Abrantes, the high school we work most closely with.

This material is a landmark for the institution which believes in the formulation of new public policies to guarantee that young black people in city peripheries have the right to live, with less risk of early deaths from the violence caused by the so-called “War on Drugs” in Brazil. This is particularly serious right now, when we are living under the fascist policies imposed by Brazil’s current president.

Our original intention was to use the video for drug prevention training for 200 young people. However, with your support and that of GFC, we are now going to run drug prevention and human rights classes for more than 1200 high school students, using the documentary as our main educational tool.

We are hoping to raise further funds to add to your invaluable donations so we can use this tool to train educators, teachers and other professionals and disseminate the content in other municipalities, cities and states.

The documentary (in Portuguese) can be accessed atYouTube.com/ongvivaavida

OTHER ACTIVITIES OVER THIS PERIOD:

Collective community action at the House of Flour

Young people from Viva a Vida were invited to participate in an important collective activity at the Cordoaria Quilombo - the restoration of the House of Flour. Part of the roof had collapsed due to heavy rains in the state. Our young people helped in the restoration and cleaning up.

We are very grateful for our partnership with this location, which represents the region’s black ancestry.

Many thanks to our young people for their help!

Suitcase for Youth

We have been invited to represent our region in the Suitcase for Youth project, which provides activities to promote public policies for young people around Brazil. The Suitcase for Youth project is an initiative of Canal Futura, which has provided the material and training for this year, with future dissemination coming from young people themselves.

The program grew out of consultation and work with the Integrated Center for Sustainable Development Studies and Programs (Centro Integrado de Estudos e Programas de Desenvolvimento Sustentável: CIEDS) and aims to value the personal journeys, life projects and social promotion of young people, strengthening public policy in order to guarantee their basic rights. The project uses audio-visual techniques, music, theater, dance, the arts and educational games to construct discussions and debates.

Quilombo Social Action

Through partnerships with the company Braskem and the Municipality of Camaçari’s Food Bank, we have distributed 100 staple food baskets, 100 hygiene kits and 50 vegetable packs for 100 female-headed households living in the Cordoaria Quilombo. These action “feeds” families who are experiencing difficulties because of a lack of work due to the pandemic.

We would like to thank Viva a Vida’s young participants and our President Juracy Bahia, who carried out the screening and distribution with the help of Senhora Luzinete from the Bijuzeiras Group. This was detailed work to locate those families who really need this support.

GFC CEO Group

Viva a Vida’s Coordinator Évelin Salles and our international consultant Cressida Evans participate in this group, set up by GFC for CEO’s of NGOs around the world. Monthly meetings are aimed at strengthening organizations and providing opportunities to discuss institutional demands, evaluation instruments and the new political landscape around the world.

The group has enabled Viva a Vida to consider new methodologies for action and to play a fundamental role in motivating ourselves and others to carry on in the struggle to keep the institution’s mission alive.

Viva a Vida’s GlobalGiving fundraising goal

We would like to let you know that, thanks to your generous donations, we have almost hit our original fundraising goal of US$ 20,000.00! Our heartfelt thanks!

But the struggle continues and with the closing down of many funding pathways because of the pandemic, your support is needed now more than ever. Over the next few days you will therefore see that we have raised our goal to US$ 25,000.00 – onwards and upwards!

Young people distribute COVID support baskets
Young people distribute COVID support baskets
Suitcase for Youth policy toolkit
Suitcase for Youth policy toolkit
Collective action - repairing the Flour House
Collective action - repairing the Flour House
Viva a Vida's President distributing emergency aid
Viva a Vida's President distributing emergency aid
Feb 2, 2021

Art & Community Mobilization Report: Oct-Jan 2021

Young leaders distributing emergency kits
Young leaders distributing emergency kits

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

Happy New Year – here’s hoping that 2021 is full of health and wellbeing for all!

Since our last report, we have dedicated our efforts to completing and publicizing the documentary series we told you about last time. Thanks to your generous donations, as the schools remain closed, we have also focused on social action for the most vulnerable members of our community, who have been particularly hard hit by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. We are so proud of how hard Viva a Vida’s young leaders have worked to support others!

The documentary series “ASCENDENDO IDEIAS”, or “LIFTING UP IDEAS”, provides a critical analysis of how Brazil’s drug policy has been constructed and its ramifications for the black population, particularly for young people.

It will be launched in 2021 and includes 13 episodes that touch on topics ranging from anthropology to the justice system and discuss the moral concept of drugs, religion, racism, stigma and class, decriminalization and legislation, the media, drug dealing and trafficking, genocide, crime, the police, child labor and harm reduction.

Before the official launch, we have posted the first nine episodes on our social media, and more than one thousand, six hundred people have accessed it!

With your support and with funding from the Global Fund for Children, we will be able to disseminate learning from the documentary to six schools, training teachers and other employees on the theme of Drug Policy. Through film sessions and debates, approximately 100 adults will participate in this training, as well as 100 high school students.

Your work is so good. We’re going to start internal training and finding out about your work is fundamental to this,” said Luana Malheiros, anthropologist and founder member of the Collective Balance Harm Reduction.

“I really liked the teaching from Arts-Educator Marcos Paulo. Wars against Drugs are racial, selective and directly affect the black population”, said Antônio Ferreira, from the State Forum for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Protection of Adolescent Workers in Bahia (FETIPA).

“Congratulations to Associação Viva a Vida. Excellent work. We recommend that everyone watches this and that the material be used to train families and young people,” said Baja Ubirajara– President of Camaçari’s Municipal Council for the Rights of the Child and Adolescent

SOCIAL AND EMERGENCY ACTION

The Drop of Love (Pingo de Amor) Project, located in Vila de Abrantes, organized an activity to donate toys to the Cordoaria Quilombo Traditional Community, and Viva a Vida took advantage of this opportunity to donate 100 kits of hand sanitizer, sanitary pads, paper tissues and masks, collected and distributed by our young leaders, in partnership with the NGOs Aldeias SOS and PLAN International

MOVING HOUSE 

We started the year reorganizing our local presence. Due to the pandemic, since March 2020, we have been unable to undertake direct activities, and have been providing services remotely. For this reason, and because of restricted funding, we have decided to close our administrative center and work remotely for the time being.

Documentary Series tackling Drug Policy
Documentary Series tackling Drug Policy
Emergency kits in the Cordoaria Quilombo
Emergency kits in the Cordoaria Quilombo
Community action with Marcos Paulo
Community action with Marcos Paulo
 
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