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 Children  Brazil Project #14898

Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children

by Vaga Lume Association
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children
Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children

Maintaining a job that crosses some of the most distant places in Brazil is not an easy task. Today we support a network of 91 libraries in 22 municipalities in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, which has a history of about 100,000 children and youngers being impacted. This is only possible due to the efforts of hundreds of people spread throughout the country. However, a substantial part of this effort is entirely voluntary. Women and men devote much of their time to the management of community libraries in their communities and municipalities. Without these people, Vaga Lume would have been nothing more than a flash of light that passed by the Amazon almost 20 years ago.

It was by them, for them and thanks to them that our 9th Vaga Lume's Congress was a success in every aspect. After months of work by the team, which included the registration of the participants, the production of the event, the search for partnerships, the preparation of the agenda and communication material, 76 volunteers from the Amazon were able to get to know the largest metropolis in Latin America. For some, it meant a journey taken by boat for days; for others, it was the first time in an airplane; but for all, it was a unique opportunity to exchange experiences between members of different peoples of the Amazon and generations of Vaga Lume’s volunteers.

This 4-day intense agenda included trainings, open classes, lectures, and workshops. The 9th Vaga Lume's Congress was aligned with activities of the Balada Literária (“Literary Ballad”, in English), an annual festival of popular literature hosted at three major Brazilian cities. Apart from that, this encounter marked the beginning of a new era for Vaga Lume. The volunteers collaborated with the construction of the organization's action plan for the upcoming years. This action plan aims to create more libraries to even more communities in the Amazon.

At each Vaga Lume's encounter, whether in the form of a Congress, regional meeting, training or even a monitoring expedition, the richness of cultural exchanges lives up to the complexity of the Amazon region. At this Congress, it was no different: many times, volunteers were able to illustrate how community libraries have become spaces to share and strengthen local traditions and knowledge. After all, along with literature, there is also creativity and imagination, two essential ingredients for the construction of meanings and recognition of the power of culture in every corner of the Amazon.

The amount of knowledge exchanged in just four days has left us speechless. Our conviction and inspiration were renewed by the effort and engagement of the group in the Vaga Lume's mission: to empower children living in rural remote communities of the Amazon by promoting reading and management of community libraries as a space of knowledge sharing.

Open class with the writer Valter Hugo Mae
Open class with the writer Valter Hugo Mae
Panel on Sustainable Development Goals
Panel on Sustainable Development Goals

It is rare to have the opportunity to observe the dimension of the strength of projects, individual actions, and socio-environmental programs spread worldwide. Each in its own way, these initiatives are responsible for enabling a series of necessary transformations toward a more sustainable, and egalitarian world capable to provide and guarantee its fundamental rights.

That was Vaga Lume's opportunity: as a result of our recognition by the European Union Human Rights Award that we received at the end of the last year, we had the pleasure to be part of the European Development Days 2019, held from June 18th to 19th by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

The conference was guided by the theme “Addressing inequalities: building a world that leaves no one behind”, and brought together many organizations, government representatives, leaders and important names from all over the world in a joint effort to come up with solutions guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals to global issues. There were more than 60 thousand people from 154 countries who had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics, including the difficulties posed by inequalities in the construction of a sustainable world as well as the knowledge generated by the achievements and discoveries that have been made on this ambitious journey.

The importance of the youth's role in this process was quite evident throughout all the debates held in the forum. The growing role of this group is getting more and more evident in proposing changes and participating actively for the promotion of sustainable development. In our libraries this is also a reality: nearly 40% of all our volunteers are aged between 11 and 30 who play an important role in the community management. Gradually, these youngsters become leaders and inspiration for more adolescents and for the rest of the local dwellers by the better understanding of the world they live in and the importance of valuing culture and knowledge.

The knowledge exchange was immeasurable. Altogether by coming across a lot of opportunities to act for a fairer world capable of offering equal opportunities to all citizens also comes the conviction of the importance and magnitude of our impact on the communities we act. Furthermore, we have got convinced that we are in a world where initiatives towards its improvements are getting more and more active every day in every way.

Youth Leadership panel
Youth Leadership panel
Lia Jamra (on the left), from our organization
Lia Jamra (on the left), from our organization
Youngers of Assentamento Joao Batista
Youngers of Assentamento Joao Batista

Over the last two months, educators from schools and organizations in the southeast of Brazil who participated in the Vaga Lume's project of Cultural Exchange went to the Amazon to visit some communities with whom they were exchanging experiences. In their baggage, they carried their works, curiosity, and desire for the unknown. It was a great responsibility to present these works and show to the community the reality of young people in the southeast, and also absorb all the diversity and knowledge from the people in the forest.

In Santa Rosa, in the state of Roraima, the educators were introduced to the indigenous community where they learned a traditional dance named Parixará. In Assentamento João Batista, in the state of Pará, youngsters went swimming in the Igarapé. Besides that, an educator had to travel more than 30 hours by boat to get to São Sebastião, in the state of Pará. In Manoelzinho, in the state of Maranhão, they found chibé, a drink made of cassava flour, water, and spices. In Sobradinho, in the state of Maranhão, people were celebrating Festa Junina, a traditional party. They also had the opportunity to have a canoe tour through Solimões river where they were able to observe the life on the riverside of Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo, in the state of Amazonas.

The visits were full hospitality, inspiring stories from the community elders and sharing of ancient knowledge. These valuable experiences will enrich even more the cultural exchange between the young participants.

"Having the experience to stay a few days immersed in a different culture is transformative. By looking and listening carefully, I was constantly thinking about how I would share each moment I lived there... Jerked meat paçoca, buriti, stories told in malocão, children curious eyes, life in the community, the handmade book answering questions sent by the Santi School... This will always mark not only my life but also all young lives involved in the program!" Vanessa, educator in Santi School. 

 

Tradução: Luana Santos

Young people dancing Parixara in Santa Rosa
Young people dancing Parixara in Santa Rosa
Teenagers reading in Sao Sebastiao
Teenagers reading in Sao Sebastiao

Links:

Me in front of the library
Me in front of the library

The journey is long, with ins and outs of planes, car trips, countless hours sailing through the nearby rivers (Negro and Xié). The perk is that the landscape is exuberant, one of the most beautiful that I ever saw. The biggest reward is to arrive at the library implemented by Vaga Lume, in a faraway place and see the connection with the indigenous community and the place.

In the community of Tabocal do Pereira, we can find Juvêncio, a fisherman, teacher, and volunteer of Vaga Lume. He tells how much the children are passionate for the books, how much he loves to read aloud, and how this practice makes a difference in the community. Through reading aloud, the children get to know new places and cultures, likewise improvement at school. Like a dive in the dark waters of the Negro River, the kids submerge in the stories and rise in a universe that only books can take us.

At Tunú, a community at the riverbeds of Xingú River, we are welcomed by Daniel, a local community leader. He shows us the library, a charming small house. This modest place makes possible to guarantee that the children of the community have access to books, a right that should be granted to all of them.

The community center is where we gather everyone after breakfast. Some of them do not speak Portuguese, but during the reading, we are connected by the books.  We laugh together, we feel the wonder in the same way, because even if we do not speak the same language, the reading brings us together. Literature has the power of bringing laughter and wonder to all of us.

During the night, at the community of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, the stars appear one by one. Before we realize there is a constellation above us, countless stars shine in the sky and bring enchantment. The work of the volunteers is similar to that, they are like the stars, reading by reading, the light gets stronger and in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, a spark shines. Made by people, books and libraries which will last while people believe in the power of reading. This spark will never lose its light and can reach as far as the light of stars in the universe.

Links:

Graca de Deus community
Graca de Deus community

Graça de Deus is one of the dozen of ‘quilombola’ communities in Mirinzal, in the state of Maranhao. Quilombola people are descendants of slaves who escaped Brazil's plantations and fled deep into the Amazon rainforest for security and protection. Each quilombola community has different social and cultural characteristics, but all of them have a history of fight and resistance that is still strong in the hearts and minds of these people.

Vaga Lume is present in this community for 13 years now and its library is located on the only school of the community. Our volunteer, Karina Barbosa, shared with us her concern about the library location: “it is always changing its location, now it’s on the school, it used to be inside the church, on the house of a local, and many other places. Our dream is to have a specific headquarter to the library”. Taking into account the community wish and the importance of having a space of their own, a campaign was created by partner private school in the São Paulo – Vera Cruz - to raise funds to enable the construction of the library in Graça de Deus.

Now, with all the resources available and with a massive help from the community, the dream is finally coming true. The construction is at full speed. All the necessary material has been bought and during the weekends the community is building the library. The dream of so many children, teenagers and volunteers is closer to become real.

Local residents and labours starting the construct
Local residents and labours starting the construct

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Vaga Lume Association

Location: Sao Paulo - Brazil
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Lia Jamra
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil
$30,157 raised of $50,000 goal
 
523 donations
$19,843 to go
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