Young Chlidren Who Attend the Project
PROJECT UPDATE: CRESCER E VIVER | RIO DE JANEIRO
Over the past few months, Crescer e Viver has been extremely active with a great deal of success in a wide range of activities. They are not only getting the recognition they deserve, they are also beginning to expand their reach and provide a model for others to follow.
BEGINNERS WORKSHOPS IN SOCIAL CIRCUS
This year has seen increased community involvement in the beginners' workshops, which have an attendance of 122 children, teenagers and young people. Many of the new pupils enrolled have become involved with the production of 'The Artist’s Life'; older students are being trained as monitors and the involvement of families is increasingly encouraged.
Crescer e Viver is regularly approached by local organisations or members of the community and is asked to create and put on small productions for occasional presentations and exhibitions.
As a result they have created a group of 19 young people, who together make up the Troupe, which focuses on this kind of activity. This also gives those who wish to pursue circus arts as a career the chance to experience production at a professional level.
Young people work together with project leaders, having a say in every aspect of the production providing them with a good knowledge of the wider experience of producing a performance. Value is placed on the performance itself and the importance of presenting their work to their communities. In turn this acts to provides young people with a very tangible sense of achievement, helping to build their confidence and self-esteem.
'THE ARTIST'S LIFE'
'Vida de Artista' ('The Artist’s Life') is a play produced and performed by the students at Crescer e Viver. This year's production – sponsored by Petrobrás (government-owned Brazilian oil company) – has gained widespread praise. Sixteen teenagers from the Improvers Troupe have been at the centre of the work, which has its own dedicated artistic production and direction teams.
A six-month production period saw dedication and intensive work from everyone involved. The play premiered on 23rd August and is showing at the Big Top of Crescer e Viver, in Praça Onze, until the end of October. Crescer anticipates that more than 5,000 people will come to see the show in Rio alone. This success has inspired plans to tour across Brazil in 2008.
Young people are involved in all aspects of the production, providing them with skills they will need as professionals to develop their own projects and activities. This program in particular is being developed so that its success may be replicated across Brazil.
PARTNERSHIP WITH SESC RIO DE JANEIRO
Since 2006, Crescer e Viver and SESC (Serviço Social do Comércio – 'Social Service for Commerce') have developed a partnership which sees Crescer extending the number of children with whom it is working in Rio. SESC is a privately-run, non-profit organization, which has branches across Brazil. Its aims to enhance Brazil's social welfare through the promotion of its cultural and artistic development.
In 2006, Crescer worked with SESC in Tijuca, in the northern part of Rio. From September this year, they expanded their work to two further areas, reaching a total of 150 children.
This part of Crescer's program also supports the development of a group of young educators, trained to work with younger children, and providing them with the stepping stones they need to be able to work permanently in the arts.
DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATORS AND YOUNG EDUCATORS
The 'educators' and 'young educators' work together to decide the themes for development and discuss the importance of the processes used within the project. They also decide how to make their work relevant to the realities which the children and young people face in their day-to-day lives.
Everyone recognizes that they are in a process of constant development themselves, and that they must strive continuously to improve their skills and relevance to the children they are working with.
There has been particular success in the training of young people, with 10 currently employed as interns either at Crescer itself, or at other arts organisations.
RECOGNISING CRESCER'S SUCCESS
Crescer was recently short-listed as a finalist from 350 organisations nominated for the Prêmio Cultura Nota 10 competition. The winner was announced on 5th November, to mark Brazil’s National Day of Culture- ( Crescer e Viver was already named as one of the 500 Points of Culture by Brazil’s Minister of Culture in 2005).
Many of the children in the project experience difficult situations in their home lives. Violence, drugs and alcohol abuse are common aspects of daily living. Along with this problems associated with poverty, unemployment and broken families are also prevalent in many of their situations.
Crescer has prided itself on being able to provide advice and social support to participants' families, a valuable part of their work since it means that individual children's wider needs are addressed.
Even though Crescer has not had specific support for this aspect of their work, they felt it important enough to piece together what they could to establish a team of social support workers who could provide advice and social support to children's families.
Unfortunately, Crescer has recently found it difficult to maintain the team, and was – reluctantly – forced to stop this part of their work. The project has maintained informal contact with the families, and is able to get emergency help to them in urgent cases.
Nevertheless, because the project is unable to support the team on a permanent basis, this undermines just how much progress can be made with children from extremely difficult backgrounds. As a result Crescer is now looking for specific funding for this part of their work.
Showing Off Their Skills
Youth on Unicycle with Mural at the Project