Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children

by ASSOCIACAO DE APOIO A CRIANCA EM RISCO - ACER BRASIL
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
Quality Education for 5,200 Brazilian Children
The Team
The Team

Well over half of the Brazilian population is descended from African and Indigenous peoples but teaching about their history and society in schools only became obligatory for the former in 2003 and the latter in 2008. As such, very few public school teachers know how to deliver teaching in these subjects nor are there many text books which is why we have chosen to focus on these areas for the stories we deliver to the children in schools. As the young reading mediators also have almost no knowledge, we give a lot of training for them to deliver the project with quality.

We interviewed all three of them and here are some snippets: 

“The stories about Africa are really great, I'm learning more about African culture and I'm able to share some of what I learn with the children. I'm learning a lot about the history of things and how and where they came from, and especially from great figures like Nelson Mandela, who I have particularly become a big fan of his history, and how a single person can become so important to an entire country." - Ryan.

“Telling stories and learning about Africa is being a totally new and very gratifying experience, I'm really enjoying it, because I believe it's very important for us to pass on this knowledge about a little bit of our roots as well, because Brazil comes down to this briefly: diversity; and the work we do with children, bringing stories inspired by events that took place in several countries on the African continent or in theories and versions to explain why things are, etc., all of this activates and stimulates creativity, knowledge and the imagination of these children, in addition to helping them to have this basic notion of knowledge about the African continent." - Emily

“I think it's really cool that kids are interested in African culture and they're always surprised that there's always a story to explain everything. We always try to bring African books and every Thursday we tell a story and it varies between a week about Africa and a week about Brazilian indigenous culture. What I learned the most from my days here in the project is that Africana culture is very rich and little explored, and children always think it's cool and are very interested in something new that is so different." - Pedro.

Reading the interviews inspires us to cpontinue with the focus we have, confident of its importance to the children and young people.

Puppet Theatre
Puppet Theatre
Talking about the Play
Talking about the Play
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Ryan
Ryan

Along with Stephanie, we also have three new reading mediators at the project who passed through a rigorous selection process with over 50 candidates. One of them is Ryan, a 17 year old young man just starting the last year of high school and who is, in his words, returning to ACER: "I wanted to become part of this project in order to develop my independence and also help out at home (financially) and especially to return to ACER which held an important and central place in my childhood."

He has very much enjoyed coming back to our community centre and meeting up with staff he has known before, now as a colleague. After doing their initial training, the group had started giving their first story telling sessions at our community centre (as schools remain closed due to the pandemic) when, due to the worsening Covid situation, ACER had to close its centre and once again we have had to move online. This, for Ryan, has been extremely challenging "the most difficult thing for me has been having to film sessions from home. I have never done this before and am not comfortable with cameras, but I have insisted and gradually I am getting there!"

There has however been a new opportunity which he has enjoyed much more; with the centre closed, all the staff and youth monitors have gone out to the community to the homes of the families to interview them on their doorsteps with rigorous sanitary care being taken. In  Ryan's words "I have really enjoyed doing the survey, I went to about 10 houses which are not far from where I live but with people I didn't know before. The people received us really well and were pleased to reply to all the questions we asked and for me it was nice to know that they live (really challenging) lives very similar to me, no better, no worse."

So even with unexpected challenges, we are still finding new ways to help develop the young men and women from the project and better prepare them for adult life and the different jobs they will have one day.

10 year old Ryan at the centre
10 year old Ryan at the centre
Story telling with objects for the camera
Story telling with objects for the camera
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Telling a Story
Telling a Story

With the quarantine extension meaning schools have stayed closed, and the return of some face-to-face classes at our community centre, the Stories Transforming the Future Project also resumed activities in a different way. Before, young mediators went to schools to read and play with children in their own classroom, but now the children who go to ACER to participate in other activities,  now have the story telling and games sessions at our centre.

Lucas, the young man who leads the project, told how this period of activities is going:

“At the beginning, we had a lot of difficulty, due to the return of activities and protocols, but we talked and adjusted all the points and we already have a way to carry out the sessions. The biggest difficulty in the beginning was to follow all the protocols, but with day to day we adjust this, like when books are returned to the library,  we leave them 48 hours in a closed box, but we talk about all the difficulties of the project and we solve them in the best possible way.

It is certainly a new experience for them, before we went to them, now they come to meet us, and the environment here at ACER is different from the school ”.

One of the reading mediators, Kaylaine, also gave us her point of view:

“I confess that this year was not easy, having to get away from what I was used to doing, but when it returned, it was not difficult to adapt again and everything happened normally and in a positive way.

I don't really think that when we got back we had difficulties, what we have to talk about is the sanitary protocol, which we had to adapt as well.

I think the kids are enjoying it, we always try to do it in a way that they like and I wouldn't change anything ”.

The children who participate in this project visit ACER twice a week and are divided into two different time slots, wearing a mask and with all the spaces and materials sanitized, thus avoiding crowding and following all precautions and safety protocols.

In addition to the activities of the Stories Transforming the Future Project, ACER's community library has contributed to the development of reading, not only for children and young people, but for people of all ages since it contains books of various types and genres, even in Braille. One of these people is Tatiana, 41, who is used to borrowing books: “I take a book out at the ACER library weekly, I think this is very important. I like it there because of the diversity of titles and the practicality of the books being already separated and during the pandemic I request the number of books and subjects via WhatsApp. It would be really nice if they gave suggestions. I would like to take the children to enjoy the environment to get a taste for reading, outside the pandemic ”.

Reading
Reading
Playing a game
Playing a game
Books to lend
Books to lend
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Kaylaine Live
Kaylaine Live

Despite the pandemic, the Stories Transforming the Future Project continues in action, mediators are taking turns doing lives and making videos to be posted on ACER's YouTube channel. Videos are posted on Mondays and Fridays and Tuesdays and Thursdays there are live sessions on Instagram, where mediators tell stories and play games for children. Reading is very important for the development of children, in addition to being fun as Everton, who watches all the lives and videos said:
“I like storytelling, because it is good for distracting the mind and it is very cool. I think it's great! Very practical and interesting, I think it's important. It wouldn't change anything, it's very good.”
- Everton, 06 years old

It is also very important for our teenagers, as it has given them the opportunity to improve their communication and the way they work. Kaylaine, one of the young mediators told us about the experience:
“In most of the stories we tell, there is some kind of teaching behind it or some way to develop children's imagination and thus also encourage them to want to read more stories. I like making videos and lives, because somehow I still help and keep doing the work I like. We reading mediators have the role of encouraging and bringing reading closer to children, contributing to their development, and I would not change any of that.”
- Kaylaine, 16 years old - Reading Mediator.

It is very important and gratifying to know that the Project is making improvements in so many lives, for young people and children, improving their development despite all this difficult period that we are facing, because even in isolation, children can have contact with educational activities, because not all parents have time to read a book for the child.

We are really looking forward to the return of storytelling and puppet theatre in schools.

Everton watching and listening
Everton watching and listening
Kaylaine storytelling
Kaylaine storytelling
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Mariana with Mother Aline
Mariana with Mother Aline

In times of corona virus as the schools are closed, we decided to take the opportunity to interview the parents of some of the shcool children who benefit from the project and share them with all of our supporters. Aline is the mother of Mariana who studies at a large elementary school in the neighbourhood and has this to say: "She tells me how great the stories are, that the reading mediators play with them and it is great fun. I believe that the reading programme contributes to the development of speech and the imagination and helps her with her emotions and to acquire knowledge. The project is not just reading, there is the interaction with the children and this develops affection; the games they play after the story are great and Mariana likes them a lot! Its lovely to see her bring them home, she likes to read to her sister at home. This is great! We love it! Thank you to everyone who is part of the project."

Two mothers from Annete Melchioretto elementary school were also very positive in their comments: Vilma, Lorena's mother tells us "she always talks about the activities and loves the young people, I think it is all great and we should not stop with the activities for children from the neighbourhood - ACER is a channel for social development." Lívia's mother Liziane shares "she always takes part and says how much she likes the reading; she has developed a lot and is more clever and her motor coordination has improved a lot, she is more responsible and it is helping her development."

It is very gratifying for us to hear from the parents how much our project is contributing to the children's development both in class and at home. As can be felt in Vilma's comment, the children are losing out on many things not being able to go to school at this time and, to help the parents and children, the young people are doing live story telling sessions three times a week on Instagram; we are looking forward to being back with the children in school as soon as possible.

Lorenna with mum Vilma
Lorenna with mum Vilma
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Organization Information

ASSOCIACAO DE APOIO A CRIANCA EM RISCO - ACER BRASIL

Location: DIADEMA, SP - Brazil
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @acerbrasil
Project Leader:
Jonathan Hannay
DIADEMA, SP Brazil
$24,577 raised of $28,000 goal
 
243 donations
$3,423 to go
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