Learning to read and black identity
Dear Friend and Supporter
Today we’d like to tell you about the launch of the Afro-library (Afroteca) we opened with your amazing support! It was a great celebration in the main square of the Cordoaria Quilombo. The Afro-library is a community library set up to receive up to 20 children at a time for activities related to black, quilombola and indigenous literature; the library contains over 140 books.
We are working with 70 children in play and education activities that reinforce the concepts of grammar, reading and, above all, racial identity. In the second semester, a further 400 children from public schools in the region will also benefit from the itinerant Afroteca.
Our group of educators have organized a timetable that includes storytelling, cinema, workshops with play, handicrafts, music and poetry, all to improve the education rates that were hit so hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, when classes were interrupted for 3 years. And, clearly, to promote the reclaiming of quilombo identity by the people who live there.
Maju, our lovely storyteller, launched this literary landmark through tales from the books I feel what I feel and Makeba goes to school by the Bahian authors Lázaro Ramos and Ana Fátima.
Former project beneficiary and current Viva a Vida Culture Coordinator, Thiago the Revolutionary Poet, performed his poetry.
Representatives from government and private companies also attended, but what really set our hearts beating was the fantastic community presence!
Afroteca activities will continue throughout the year with regular workshops held during the after-school period, and as a lending library with storytelling on Saturdays.
Viva the Democratization of Literature and for a world in which the Human Right to Read also matters!
Huge thanks to all of you who donate to Viva a Vida and make this great work possible.
- Regular workshops: since March we have worked with the two schools located in the quilombo, with children aged from 3 to 12 years old, almost 70 in total. Three times a week, the children spend their afternoons in the Afroteca, following an educational development plan devised for each child. The books read during these activities were: Alika by Regina Luz, I feel what I feel by Lázaro Ramos, What face? by Solange Barros, Koumba and the Diambê drum by Madu Costa and I want a hug by Stela Barbieri.
- Storytelling in the Square: we’ve had three storytelling meetings, with about 30 children attending each, sitting in the middle of the square and enjoying the stories. These always involve characters who relate their experiences and talk about where they live, such as, I feel what I feel by Lázaro Ramos, Makeba goes to school by Ana Fátima, Love of Hair, by Matthew A. Cherry and Me and my place by Vânia Abreu
- Community Library: on Saturdays, the Afroteca’s doors are thrown open to the community. Our team receives children who turn up to read, draw, play and, to our delight and surprise, even create their own storybooks!
- Prevention and Combatting Sexual Violence and Exploitation: to mark 18 May, when all our efforts are dedicated to remembering the need for public policies that protect children and adolescents from sexual violence, we went to the Quilombo School and discussed the book Don’t touch me, you fool which addresses this topic. We then held a large circle debate to discuss myths and realities and listened to what the children had to say in this delicate moment of learning.
RASTA CINE EVENING
In May, we held our first Cine Evening with the theme KEMET or Egypt. These events constitute a strategy to involve the young people from the quilombo in our activities. The idea is to create a safe space for young people to discuss relevant themes so that later we can return to running Political Awareness training with adolescents and young people from the community.
There were many attractions including: the quilombo’s Aquilombar capoeira group, poetry from the Revolutionary Poet and Luca, and a showing of the film Nó from Midi Alves, focused on valuing black women.
It’s worth noting that all of this was organized by our Culture Coordinator, Thiago, who is also, as mentioned, a former beneficiary, volunteer and now a member of our board.
In March, Évelin, our General Coordinator, received homage in an event at the first school we worked with in Vila de Abrantes. The idea was to pay homage to women who provide social and educational well-being activities in the neighborhood. This led to many ideas, culminating in a proposal to set up a collective for women in the region to discuss their issues in a safe space and break paradigms. The Render Women’s Collective was thus born – the group, which meets monthly, is currently reading the book “Women who run with Wolves”.
POLITICAL TRAINING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
At their invitation, we visited a public school in Monte Gordo, a neighborhood close to where we work, to hold a circle dialogue with young people about “Racism and Youth: what does this have to do with me?” Educator Marcos Paulo and the Revolutionary Poet turned the auditorium into a space for debate and reflection.
The V2 theater group has long been in recess because of a lack of funding, but came together to support the doctoral thesis of director, actress and theatre teacher Simone Requiao, who worked with the group for more than 5 years. Simone and the Viva a Vida actors presented a sketch focused on topics that are highly relevant today: homophobia, racism and violence against women. The presentation took place in the Martins Gonçalves theater at the Federal University of Bahia’s Theater School.
THEORY OF CHANGE
Juracy Bahia, our President, is in the second phase of helping us construct this important instrument for conscious and appropriate planning. During June and July the team is coming together to consider pathways, possibilities and interventions for the community where are work is focused.
Quilombola children at play
The Afroteca Inauguration
Learning through play