In order to discuss with Vaga Lume’s volunteers how to improve the activities taking place in the community libraries near Barreirinhas, a city located in the state of Maranhão (northeastern of Brazil), as well as to train new reading mediators on the region, the Vaga Lume’s Meeting in Barreirinhas took place.
The Meeting gathered volunteers, which were able to get in touch with each other and share different experiences regarding the libraries management, strengthening their bonds and knowledge. They were also able to explore the entire book collection that Vaga Lume sends to the community libraries in order to discuss about varied themes within these books.
After these introductory activities, the participants visited a local community library, named “Mundo da Leitura” (portuguese for “Reading World”) where the new reading mediators were able to practice their skills with more than 100 children from the local school.
Barreirinhas is known for being the entrance point to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, a famous tourist destination in Brazil. The participants of the Regional Meeting also had the opportunity to visit park as another way to better understand the local culture and the territory: “I’ve never imagined that I would get to know a place so beautiful, so rich and so different from where I came from” said Dijaik Neri, volunteer representing Tefé, a city in the Amazon State.
The encounter was filled with the volunteers’ willingness to improve their work through the debate and exchanging best practices from their community. 41 people completed the reading aloud training and went back to their communities with even more energy to keep running the activities in the libraries.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, the residents of Quilombola São Pedro organized a special activity at the school. The students brought their mothers to the school and gave them projects based on their reading in the Vaga Lume library, explored the book collection together, and them read to each other. The celebration was about more than just reading, it was also about family bond.
The Quilombola São Pedro is very engaged in the Vaga Lume Project, as with it’s own cultural identity. That is important, because quilombola communities are the descendants of slaves who escaped Brazil's plantations and fled deep into the Amazon rainforest for security and protection. São Pedro community also sent a representative to the Quilombola meeting in 2016. They usually organize regular story-telling sessions, have made their own artisanal books, and undertaking a range of other activities to preserve their culture and environment.
The Quilombola São Pedro Mother’s Day Celebration showed us once again that Vaga Lume has an important part to play in strengthening community ties.
As a part of the Vaga Lume programs, Rede aims at promoting an intercultural dialogue between young people from communitarian libraries supported by Vaga Lume in the Amazon and young people from other regions of Brazil.
Throughout 2018, hundreds of adolescents will share their realities with their pairs, and that involves introducing their own communities, sharing curiosities, getting their hands dirty and lots, lots of interaction! The main idea is to bring both worlds closer together, broaden each other’s readings and make new friends.
This year, we are going to have six sharing pairs: the Escola Vera Cruz with the Comunidade Quilombola Graça de Deus from Mirinzal - MA; the Escola Santi with the Comunidade Campina from São Benedito - AP; the Associação Bem Comum with the Comunidade de Camanaus - AM; the Galpão Tide Setubal with the Comunidade de São Francisco from Santarém - PA; the Instituto Criança Cidadã – Circo Escola Cidade Seródio with the Comunidade Menino Deus from Portel - PA; the Colégio PH from Rio de Janeiro with the Comunidade Santa Rosa from Cruzeiro do Sul – AC.
We began our trip in São Paulo (Brazil´s largest city), and flew to Manaus (the industrial capital of the Amazon). From there, we took a two-hour flight to Carauari. From Carauari we took a five-hour boat ride up the immense Juruá River to the poetically-named community of Nova Esperança (or “New Hope” in Portuguese). We couldn´t have asked for a better reception. We brought a box filled with brand new children´s books. The moment we opened the box, children began searching through the new books, and lined up to borrow them and bring their favorites home for a few days.
Nova Esperança truly lives up to its name. People with a light in their eyes, children with love in their hearts and their actions. They are the reason that all of us – the Vaga Lume education team and local volunteers – do this work.
While we were in the community we spent time with Luciene Lima da Silva, who learned read-a-loud techniques with Vaga Lume on a previous visit. She told us that our work together has been so powerful that there are five-year-olds in her community that have taught themselves to read! She said they learned through constant contact with the books, with read-a-loud, and with the library space.
As you may imagine, since its foundation in 2001, Vaga Lume (Portuguese for firefly) has seen, listened, writen and experienced many Amazonian stories. They come from indigenous, riverside, roadside, quilombola and many other communities and cultures living in harmony in the region.
Today we invited Joao, our 10-year-old poet to tell you one of these stories: the one of a tiny firefly that fell in love with a giant called Amazônia - it looks like Vaga Lume's real story?
Check it out and enjoy your ride to this amazing world and its stories: Vaga Lume - 15 years
After that experience, please tell us what you thought about it.
Once again, thank you for supporting us and making those stories even more vivid everyday! We wish you an amazing New Year and that we keep changing Amazonian children lives through reading together in 2018!!!
Vaga Lume Team
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