Six young community leaders and Marcos Paulo
Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters!
Today we’d like to tell you a story about a group of six young people, residents of Vila de Abrantes and Jauá, full of dreams, strength and knowledge. Maybe they wouldn’t say so themselves, but we know that where there you find young people you find resistance!
“I’ve learnt to respect each human being’s processes, I’ve learnt to work in a group, this has all helped me to see life differently, I hope that everything will go on flowing like this. My work will help other adolescents to find themselves in life. Knowledge transforms, Viva a Vida helps to solve the puzzle that ‘plagues’ our age” Jessé
For three years we have tested and retested a format which transforms the lives of young people to the point where they understand that the key to changing their community is not an NGO or a project, but THEMSELVES!
In 2018, we were able to strengthen the Vila Jovem Youth Group through participation in the #VivaJuntos Project, with training in Human and Environmental Rights, arts education (photography and graffiti) and youth leadership. One result of this intervention was that Viva a Vida won the Global Fund for Children’s Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award, which has enabled us to take a whole new step this year: TRAINING 6 YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE YOUNG COMMUNITY LEADERS.
We began the year with training in Youth and Community Leadership, which allowed them to understand the tools they can use to transform their community.
We weren’t very surprised to see that this process has also transformed their daily lives:
“These three months of work have made it clear that it’s not a joke when you talk about life being full of learning, from the training sessions to working as a young educator in the classroom” Jessé
“I’m sure that my work as a young assistant has helped my own social and community vision, because I’ve grown so much from this point of view, and more and more, I want to be involved with the community and with developing society for the greater good” Thiago
Following training, the six young people: Jessé (17 years old), Lucas (21 years old), Priscila (19 years old), Thiago (18 years old), Miqueias (16 years old) and Davi (19 years old), have begun to work in the management, planning and execution of activities. Each young person’s skills and potential was diagnosed, through the valuable contributions of Youth Worker Marcos Paulo, so they could be transformed within Viva a Vida, at the local college and in the community.
Jessé and Davi are apprentices and helpers in practical drawing classes, Priscila works in administration, Miqueias is responsible for the maintenance of the NGO, Lucas works in communication and Thiago organizes events.
Some of them have already established goals outside the NGO based on their work with us, demonstrating the impact the training has had on their lives:
“Thanks to this experience I’ve been able to study for another term and put into practice all the theory I’ve learnt in the classroom, about how an Educator should set aside their own beliefs so they can work respectfully with others, valuing them” Priscila
The challenge of bringing together six young people with different personalities has been productive, as we can see in their reports about the experience:
“The thing I’ve learnt most has been about working together. The exchange of experiences with the other assistants. It’s helped me to think more about things I hadn’t thought about, it has made me look at the world with new eyes” Miqueias
“One of the things I’ve learnt and am still learning is how to work in a group, because I’m not very good at this group working, I’ve always liked working on my own, but I’m beginning to understand how it works… nobody can do anything alone, one head on its own is not going to solve several problems, it’s always good to have a lot of minds thinking together” Lucas
We have only been working together for three months but the young people have already understood the importance of transforming Vila de Abrantes through their work:
“The things I’ve learnt and can pass on to young people and adolescents, because the way they’ve helped me will help them, however it happens, is how to create respect, to create social awareness, and even through the drawings and photography, anything which can help them create some independence” Lucas
“Through information, helping the community with social problems, helping young people to develop self-esteem, being an example to them, helping people abusing drugs, people with no expectation of progress in life… that’s how I want to help my community” Priscila
“I’m sure that my work will contribute to the community, since the community needs sustainability and I’m developing a project with natural cosmetics and also a garden and horticulture, I believe that this project is only the beginning of other great steps and I also believe that the community will be impacted by these new things that are arriving” Thiago
We are also sure that we are on the right track in line with our ideological and methodical approach: CAPTURE – STRENGTHEN – INFORM – ENGAGE young people so that they can CONFRONT rights violations and MAP OUT new pathways.
Today #VivaJuntosSustentabilidade represents a clear pathway for training, knowledge multiplication and social sustainability, a very simple social technology and one which appears obvious, but does not often occur: INVESTING IN THE POTENTIAL OF EACH ONE AND LETTING THE RESULTS EMERGE:
“The thing I’ve learnt most at Viva a Vida so far is to simply believe in people’s potential. It may seem simple, but it isn’t that simple, because we all have potential, a unique capacity, worthy of everyone’s attention and for me that’s liberating and really empowering” Thiago
We have also been involved in other project, training, fundraising and policy activities over the last three months. Here is a summary of the things that would not have been possible without your support:
- #VivaJuntosSustentabildade (#VJS) - alongside the Young Community Leader Training described above, other #VJS activities restarted on the June 1st with 15 young artists and leaders. The initial activity was a graffiti task force working in our community center, adding incredible color and energy to our space.
- Conference to Raise Awareness about the Fight to Combat Child Labor and Drug Trafficking. Youth Worker Marcos Paulo took young poets Thiago Almir and Jesse Jassal from the #VJS project to open a videoconference event by reciting their poetry on this theme. Representative of the State Forum on the Eradication of Child Labour, Antonio Ferreira Inocencio Neto, sent us the following message after the event: “Congratulations, Viva a Vida! An exemplary generator of new perspectives in the lives of so many people, as we heard from your young poets during the conference.”
- We began the second #VJS phase with Drawing, Graffiti and Youth Leadership Workshops. Thirty young people who participated in the first phase (Human and Environmental Rights) are now taking arts education classes to transform their learning into community mobilization.
- As part of his training as a young assistant and artist Jesse participated in a Talking Games Workshop about voice and communication.
- Official visit - we received a very important visitor for future partnerships between Viva a Vida and the Municipality of Camaçari. New Social Development and Citizenship Secretary Andréa Montenegro and her team came to our center to find out more about our work and get to know some of our young participants. The young knowledge multipliers of the #VJS project discussed their work with Viva a Vida and the impact it has had on their lives. We hope this is the beginning of a fruitful partnership between our NGO and the public authorities.
- V2 Theatre Group - The group continues in its fight for the arts. With voluntary support from theatre teachers Simone and Tonny a small group of young actors are participating in a theatre text reading group, preparing for future performances in 2020.
- Big Get Together: to close the first term of 2019, we brought together beneficiaries from the V2 Theatre Group and #VJS projects, team members and the new board to get to know each other, present the certificates for the V2 Theatre Group’s final 2018/19 tour and debate the theme “How art can transform the community”.
- Open Agenda Talks - to close the current cycle of debates, Simone Alves, Feminist Activist from the Black Women’s network of Bahia, held a talk on the Theme of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, discussing the place and importance of our bodies in the territories we occupy. Forty students from the State College of Vila de Abrantes participated in this lively event.
- Course – Living without Violence (Canal Futura) – our Projects Coordinator attended this course in June aimed at setting up a network for protection and the distribution of material to train groups of students, with a kit of 4 DVDs talking about sexual exploitation and violence.
- She also attended the Run to a Hug Program’s first meeting Challenges to Guarantee, Protect and Care Adolescents and Young People. Huge admiration to the round table of young people who participate in the project. The training provided reflections on working with street dwellers in Salvador.
- From July to October, Viva a Vida is participating in training run by the Boticario Institute for Camaçari’s Child and Adolescent Council as well as its Council for the Elderly supporting local government and NGOs in how to access funding from the Child and Adolescent Fund.
- Viva a Vida has also joined the Boticario Institute’s volunteer platform bringing together NGOs and volunteers from the private sector.
- The local Reference Centre for Specialized Social Work is setting up a local commission for the Eradication of Child Labor in Camaçari. Our Projects Coordinator is a member of this new commission.
Graffiti task force - bringing color and energy!
Planning for the graffiti task force
Introducing the new Secretary to our photography