Young people finish distributing emergency aid
Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,
We hope you all are managing to stay well, safe and sane during these strange times. Thank to your generosity, we are happy to say that, despite everything, we’ve had a very productive quarter, making the most of the new online ‘normal’ by partnering with local and national organizations to broadcast live streaming events and working closely with the local college to ensure students continue to benefit from our services. As you will see, we’ve continued our work using arts to debate human rights and combat child labor, strengthened our work in menstruation support for girls and young women, and successfully completed our online mental health project. An emergency grant from GlobalGiving also enabled us to adapt quickly to the pandemic crisis, setting up various projects in which young Viva a Vida beneficiaries distributed emergency aid (including their own masks and poetry, and produce grown by local family farmers) to some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community.
Just a heads up that we will be launching our Giving Tuesday campaign at the end of November, look out for posts on Facebook and Instagram and e-mail reminders. We know it is more difficult for some people to donate right now, but you can help by reposting our news, telling your friends and family and getting the word out!
SUCCESS STORY - DOCUMENTARY
Viva a Vida has gone back to its roots and, with some fantastic material, filmed a (so far unnamed) documentary about Drug Policy in Brazil. This is a critical assessment of the policy and its consequences for the black population, particularly young people.
The film will be launched this year and has allowed us to work with some incredible and renowned partners, both individuals and institutions:
- Trícia Calmon, Coordinator of the Run to a Hug Program from the State of Bahia Department of Justice;
- Dudu Ribeiro, Historian and Coordinator of the Black Initiative for a New Drugs Policy;
- Roca Alencar, Professor at the Federal University of Bahia’s Department of Anthropology and Ethnology;
- Henrique Oliveira, Historian, member of the Bahia Public Security Forum, Alma Preta Journalism and Smoke Buddies.
The script was written by Viva a Vida Coordinator Évelin Salles, with presentations from young poet Thiago and narration and artistic work by Social Scientist and Youth Worker Marcos Paulo. Editing and Production by OKAN Produções.
The documentary has 12 episodes, addresses topics ranging from anthropology to the justice system and talks about the moral concept of drugs, religion, racism, stigma and class, decriminalization and legalization, the media, drug trafficking, genocide, crime, policing, child labor and harm reduction.
Despite the specialized team, the documentary is aimed at the democratization of information. The material will be used for work with young people – in schools, on the streets, etc. The discussions are therefore intercut with poetry, data, accessible language and – one of Viva a Vida’s characteristics - lots of creativity. Unmissable!
During the documentary, Roca Almeida poses the question: “And you say to yourself, these substances were used normally throughout history, so why, at a certain point, did they begin to be proscribed, controlled, prohibited?”
Dudu Ribeiro reminds us who suffers from the current policy: "We have to see that people come before drugs. The war against drugs is against people”.
Watch this space for the link to the finished film!
Find out more about the activities we’ve been able to run thanks to your support:
HUMAN RIGHTS, RACISM AND YOUTH CLASSES: As planned, we continued this work with five videos classes broadcast with support from the local college - 250 young people participated in online classes and 970 young people watched videos on our social networks. The work focuses on debates about racial identity, comparisons between the USA and Brazil, Wakanda, the war on drugs and Arts Education as an instrument for political education.
LET’S DRAW! One product of the classes run by our young assistant Davi was a live streaming event with the artist Oliver Dórea, to talk about the role of art during lockdown. More than 100 people watched the event, it was a great success!
PARTNERS - We have also participated in live streaming events in partnership with fellow NGO Onda Solidaria (Wave of Solidarity) which works in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro and with the Residents Association of Arembepe (a local town). Youth Worker, Marcos Paulo spoke at these events about the importance of art and literature in the political education of young people.
COMBATTING CHILD LABOR:
- We ran a large campaign with events and videos. Sixty people participated in the live streaming events to Combat Child Labor – which included participation from Plan International Project Manager Sara Oliveira.
- We also launched the video Child Labor and its invisibilities, which contained information about the more subtle forms of exploitation, such as domestic work – this was accessed 124 times.
“I DISCOVER MYSELF IN YOU”: Over the last three months we have run this fantastic intervention project for adolescents and young people. The project supported 16 families through online meetings about self-care in times of pandemic. Two psychologists monitored their mental health needs and helped to minimize the effects of the current crisis. Hear what some of the participants have to say about the project:
"It was different from all the other experiences I’ve had - I became aware that my choices are my responsibility and thanks to this I have become what I am now.” Young male participant.
“It motivated me, I think I’m able to think about and organize things better, [I know] how to be responsible, both with myself and with others.” Young male participant.
To close the project, we hosted a large round table debate on the theme of mental health and adolescence, watched by approximately 150 people, many from the municipal health and social care systems, some watched live and some accessed the recording via YouTube. You can watch the debate, which is in Portuguese, at:
BLACK JULY – We are always happy to honor the great black women who are members of Viva a Vida’s beneficiary group, so in July we launched our Black July communication campaign in support of International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women's Day. 370 people participated; you can see some of the posts here:
30 YEARS OF BRAZIL’S CHILD AND ADOLESCENT STATUTE: in July we commemorated the anniversary of this highly significant statute and invited young poet Jonas Gabriel to a discussion called: Child and Adolescent it’s all the same – which provided a racial overview of this theme. The idea was to debate racial issues within the Statue. Eighty people participated in the debate.
MENSTRUATION CAMPAIGN: Plan International and a brand that sells menstrual pads, joined up with Viva a Vida to talk about and distribute educational material and menstrual pads to 600 women in our community. It is so important to talk about this naturally and spontaneously.
PAINTING MASKS & POETRY BOOKLETS: The artists from the #VivaJuntosSustentabilidade (#LivingTogetherSustainabilty) group painted more than 400 masks to distribute in the community, as a way of providing protection and distributing love. They also put together a poetry booklet for distribution with basic food baskets and hygiene kits.
CORDOARIA QUILOMBO TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY: Close to our office is this amazing Quilombo Traditional Community. Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve been in touch with its residents and making efforts to support the lives of those who live there. Over this period we distributed 50 kits (containing non-perishable food, as well as vegetables and greens produced by family farmers, hygiene kits including hand sanitizer, soap and masks) to female heads of households, street market traders and beiju crepe makers.
EMERGENCY AID: In response to the emergency needs in the community, we established partnerships with the company BRASKEM and the NGO Aldeias SOS to provide basic and emergency needs to 175 families. We distributed 100 staple food baskets with the support of the local Child Protection Officers and 75 food vouchers (worth BRL 100.00) for direct beneficiaries, families from the community and women from the Cordoaria Community.
Filming the documentary about Drug Policy
Young beneficiary receives a food voucher
Receiving emergency aid in the quilombo
Another interview for the drug policy documentary
Distributing emergency aid to the community