We have just completed a very busy few months here at the Educandário Creche Comunitária Sonho da Vovó Clara – an independent, community school offering free of charge education and food to the children of Mata Escura in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.
On 25th March, the children celebrated Easter with a mathematical Egg Hunt organised by our local school teacher Andrea. Students had to solve maths puzzles to follow the trail and find their chocolate eggs, which were hidden around the school buildings and sports pitch. Everyone enjoyed the day and even the youngest kids had fun making their Easter Bunny ears in a joint craft session for all the students. A special thank you to our wonderful teacher for spending half the previous night drawing and cutting out ears!
We are very proud of the progress that our students have made in maths learning – and it was great to see the pride in their faces as they excelled in this fun Easter exercise. Many students in the favela of Mata Escura spend only a limited number of years in school before financial constraints or adverse influences can pull them out of the education system. Whilst we aim to develop a passion for learning in each child, we are also pragmatists. We realise that in the time we have with our students it is critical that we help them gain a good command of basic skills, such as maths and literacy, to give them the best chance of employment and a brighter future.
Dia fo Indio
19th April marked the Dia do Índio or Day of the Indian. This festival celebrates Brazil’s indigenous peoples, their culture, values and history. It is also an important moment to reflect on the plight of indigenous communities, facing extreme poverty and the effects of deforestation. The majority of our students are of African ancestry – in fact the city of Salvador has over 80% of inhabitants of African descent. The city’s population is largely descended from slaves, brought over from Nigeria, Angola and Benin to work on the sugar cane plantations established by the Portuguese settlers.
Our school director, Sr. Eraldo, has a passion for ensuring the children appreciate their African heritage and understand their history. He has arranged lots of cultural activities for the children to help reinforce this. Dia do Índio provides a perfect opportunity to focus on another facet of the fascinating story of Brazil. Students marked the day by reading and discussing some poetry from indigenous authors, creating a map of Brazil marking the different indigenous ethnic groups and even learning some words in the Tupi language. Afterwards, the children made indigenous style headdresses to take home and did some great face painting.
1st May is Mother’s Day in Brazil. As is traditional at the school, the mothers of our students were invited for a small party. The day before the students made cards to present to their mums and helped decorate the classroom ahead of the party. Sonia, our very talented school cook, prepared coffee and cake and it was lovely to see a very good turnout of nearly 20 mothers.
It is really important for us to involve parents in the work of the school, to ensure they have confidence in the work we do and we have their support. Our students also love the opportunity to show off their work (and their mums!) – its always a great day and this year’s attendance was really great.
Following the end of the rainy season, our older students also helped to give the school classrooms a bit of a revamp. You will see their great multicolour painting on the window shutters, which had become damaged during the wet months. This has really brightened up the classrooms and their multicolour scheme is much cheerier and more attractive than the sober dark blue that the adults chose 2 years ago! 1-0 to the kids in the design stakes!
Thank you for your incredibly generous support!
GVI Charitable Trust
Dia do Indio
Mum's enjoying their cake!