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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
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

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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

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Dona Franca right by my side
Dona Franca right by my side

We set off for a 4-hour trip from São Paulo to Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, where we took a boat in Rio Negro toward Barcelos for thirteen more hours. In Barcelos, we got a recreio, a regional type of boat, hung our hammocks and waited for seven more hours until we got to the Carvoeiro community. After more than eight hours travelling, we finally arrived at our destination at dawn. Francidalva dos Santos and Rosinaldo Magalhães’ family was waiting for us by the river’s edge, it is in their home that the Vaga Lume’s library is provisionally located.

In the past, the library was hosted in a house provided by the community. However, over the years, people who took care of the library were leaving the community to conquer other spaces. Toward this situation, Francidalva thought "We have an amazing collection of books and so many children. This library should get out of this place, otherwise the rain and the bugs in the region will deteriorate what we have conquered". That's how Mrs. França, as Francidalva is called, together with her husband, decided to take better care of the collection, having the library in the living room of her house provisionally.

A 33-year old indegenous woman, mother of two teenagers, student and aspiring teacher, Mrs. França was born in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, in the state of Amazonas, but lives in Carvoeiro for over 10 years. She saw in the library the opportunity to make children get in contact with books. From then on, every Saturday afternoon, together with her husband and daughters, Mrs. França take the books up to a stage in front of a football field and perform reading mediation to children. About 30 children attend the weekly mediations regularly on a community where thirty five families live in.

The community is renovating an abandoned house to host the new library’s headquarter. They are planning to transform the room into a Community Center by making a garden behind the room, with crafts classes and a space for study hall, which is a habit of the children of this community.

Mrs. França believes that, as long as they have children, books and community mobilization, she will keep believing in a better world. And Vaga Lume believes in a better world as long we have around more Mrs. Franças, spreading hope, power and stimulating reading to Amazon youngsters.

Translator: Luana Santos

Where we have the reading mediations
Where we have the reading mediations
Where the library is hosted temporarily
Where the library is hosted temporarily

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
$29,702 raised of $50,000 goal
 
503 donations
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