At our school,The Educandário Creche Comunitária Sonho da Vovó Clara (ECCSVC) or Grandmother Clara’s Dream Educational Community Creche in Mata Escura, Brasil, students are currently in the middle of their Christmas and Carnival break. This is the longest holiday in the school year in Brazil and coincides with the year’s hottest weather, when temperatures soar and studying in un—air conditioned classrooms can become impossible. Our project still works hard to support the local community during this period – we provide food parcels of rice, pasta and vegetables for our students to take home, to ensure they continue to eat well during the holidays. We also still offer reinforcement classes for older children and the school buildings remain open for children who want to pop in off the streets and play, dance or chat to our school founder, Sr. Eraldo, who is always a friendly face.
The end of Christmas term was full of celebration in the school. The Christmas party was a great success, with lots of dancing and games. There was also a small gift from Santa Claus for each child – only possible thanks to the kind donations we have received. Most of our students won’t receive gifts at home – in many cases their parents simply do not have the funds for this. They were ecstatic with the gifts they received at the party, although a little suspicious that Santa Claus might in fact have been Sr. Eraldo.
This year we also decided to mark some exceptional educational achievements in the school by holding a graduation ceremony for the students completing the first and second stages of their primary education. This was the first year we have held these ceremonies and they had a huge emotional impact on our students – it was so great to see them celebrate their academic work and realise the rewards and recognition that can come from participation in education. The ceremony also created a huge sense of pride amongst the parents that attended. In a community where education has been so underfunded and neglected by the authorities, it is key that we continue to reinforce the significance of learning amongst our families.
For the past week our school teacher Andrea has been working hard to prepare the school for the new term and she has also been receiving visits from new students and their parents wishing to enrol. It’s great that we will have lots of new faces for 2020 and we are really hoping that all our regulars return – we know that many have travelled to the interior of the state to visit family. It is normal for some families decide to remain in the countryside after the festive period and, alongside the new faces we welcome, we are always prepared for some students to disappear. This is a pattern we witness every year; most of our families have migrated to Salvador from the very poor and barren interior of the state looking for employment. Unfortunately the promise of regular work in the city does not become a reality for most. We believe we will see a net increase of students this year, but we must wait and see.
Thank you once again for your fabulous support that makes our work and the success of the children of our school a possibility. Happy New Year or Feliz Ano Novo!