As you may know, one of the bases of Vaga Lume’s methodology is to train volunteers as reading mediators in rural communities of the Brazilian Legal Amazon region in the north of the country.
Last month, we decided to offer a similar course to people that live in Sao Paulo (southeast of Brazil) and are interested in our work in the Amazon. The event was called 1st Reading Mediation Training in Sao Paulo, and it was held in Vaga Lume's headquarters, counting with 22 participants.
During two days, the training presented to the participants the methodology of reading mediation, which is the same used in the community libraries in the Brazilian Amazon. "Offering a course on reading mediation in our headquarters is an old dream. Many people were interest to know how do we manage to bring people closer to books and reading, and in this occasion we were able to show them", celebrates the Vaga Lume educator Marcia. Besides, she said, "this event was important to show people how simple and efficient our methodology is, and, moreover, to foster reading habits in the city of Sao Paulo as well".
One of the participants, Thais, highlighted the diversity of the group: "I met people from all ages, states and life stories, what have enriched the discussions, because we could access different points of view and perspectives about the same subject". She also said that she was surprised to see what reading mediation is about: "I arrived into the course wondering if we were going to learn sounds or artistic abilities to interpret book characters, but actually I have learned that it is not about that, but to have enthusiasm and energy to put children – or whosoever – in touch with books and reading in a very simple (but not simplistic) way. I was amazed by the technique!"
It was a very successful training. Vaga Lume staff considers that putting more people in touch with our methodology is one of the ways to spread reading habits and to show our partners (and the general public) the importance of our work in rural communities in the Amazon.
As always, we have only managed to accomplish the 1st Reading Mediation Training in Sao Paulo with your support, and that is why we are here to thank you and to encourage you to keep following Vaga Lume's work. You are a big part of it!
If you want to know more about and to engage in Vaga Lume’s events, please visit our website (www.vagalume.org.br/home)!
Vaga Lume Team
In 2013, the Vaga Lume Team wrote a Report about the quilombola communities where Vaga Lume has established 19 community libraries since 2001. Quilombola people are descendants of slaves who escaped Brazil's plantations and fled deep into the Amazon rainforest for security and protection. In order to discuss with Vaga Lume's volunteers how to use books as well as reading and writing skills to empower quilombola people, Vaga Lume used some of the resources raised with your help in GlobalGiving to mobilize volunteers to take part in an event during four days, the so called "Encontro Bibliotecas Vaga Lume em Comunidades Quilombolas", Portuguese for Meeting of Vaga Lume's Libraries in Quilombola Communities.
That was the first time that Vaga Lume hold a big training event at one of the rural communities that it has been working at. It took place at the Reserva Extrativista Quilombo Frechal (more often called 'Frechal'), in the community of Mirinzal (MA) - as you can see at the map above. This community was chosen because its historical relevance, since it is one of the most important quilombos in Brazil. The community supported the event and some residents formed the cleaning staff and helped to prepare meals for all participants.
Hosting the meeting at Frechal brought positive impacts, such as increasing the local economy and benefits for the big house – by buying cutlery and kitchen utensils. Another positive mark was the integration of the community in the activities, such as the reading mediation session that was provided to children of the municipal school of Frechal.
The meeting gathered 45 people from 19 different communities of the Amazon. The public consisted of participants that were already Vaga Lume’s volunteers and others that hadn't participated of any reading mediation training before..
Based on the nurturing question: "how does the network of libraries in quilombola communities can contribute to the strengthening and appreciation of the identity and local culture of your communities?", the event started inviting participants to think about possibilities of actions that could be implemented during the meeting and after that.
The event counted with the participation of the Master Degree Kiusam de Oliveira, which addressed issues related to afro-Brazilian identity and its representation in books and academy; which leaded the participants to think critically about representation, positioning and language issues.
In every lecture and workshop, the participants had been building a line of thought, which helped them to discuss belonging and identity throughout the event and thus to strengthen themselves as a group and leaders who will pass on the knowledge to their communities.
The testimonials were really positive! Mr. Luziano, from the community of Murumuru in Macapá (AP) affirmed: "we came here today to take a seed that will be planted when we get back to our communities". For Ms. Rafisa, from the community of Cantinho in Barreirinhas (MA), the highlights of the meeting were the interaction with the people from Frechal – that held the event – and the appreciation of the heritage.
During the event were produced nine handmade books that are, indeed, full of quilombola characteristics and show the history of fight and resistance still strong in the hearts and minds of these people. It was also signed a document as a collective agreement between the participating community libraries and Vaga Lume, in which all municipalities listed its actions and commitments for the future.
Aiming to celebrate the four days of deep exchanges, the graduation of the participants was followed by a party that valued the dance, poetry and culture of each community.
After this very powerful event, we would like to thank you, our donor, for supporting all Vaga Lume's projects within the Expedition Program in order to value the importance of access to books and reading in rural Amazon as well as their diverse cultural expressions, such as the quilombolas.
If you want to know more about Vaga Lume’s stories, please visit our website: http://www.vagalume.org.br/home
Vaga Lume Team
You have accompanied us during the "Vaga Lume Expedition - 15 years" throughout last year where Vaga Lume’s educators travelled around the Brazilian Legal Amazon region to monitor and evaluate the work carried out at all the 159 community libraries where the organization operates. We are very impressed with the results of the Library Ranking Vaga Lume has produced after collecting all this information and we would like to share the results with you.
By the Unini River in the municipality of Barcelos, Amazonas state, approximately 30 families live in a riverside community called Terra Nova (Portuguese for New Land) and own the best evaluated library in the Vaga Lume Library Ranking 2015.
The Vaga Lume staff arrived in Barcelos in 2002 and Terra Nova’s library (called Light of Knowledge) was founded in 2011 at the request of the community own members. They managed to build a little blockhouse exclusively to keep their treasure: the community library with 900 literature books donated by Vaga Lume, demonstrating a strong community involvement, one of the highlights that leaded Terra Nova to the top of the ranking.
At the library, there are 11 volunteers that carry out reading mediation sessions to the 50 children in the community. Leaded by Gessica Karoline, they are also responsible for maintaining the library always working. Reading mediation sessions are held daily at the library and once a moth at the school. It is moving to notice that such good work is spreading to the neighbour communities, since the volunteers perform reading activities to other communities once a month! These volunteers, as you may know, are trained to promote reading with pleasure and the appreciation of books as cultural objects which are not simply means to formal education, but an end in itself. In Terra Nova, most of the volunteers are children and youth, and the frequency of reading activities and the dedication of the volunteers show concern with the library and appropriation of this cultural equipment by the community.
Terra Nova is a very good example of the success of the work Vaga Lume is doing in more than 100 community libraries throughout the Amazon region. And you have made it possible by donating for Vaga Lume.
On behalf of the kids in Terra Nova community, as well as, of all the more than 25,000 children that have access to book because of your support, we would like to thank you!
If you have any doubts or comments, do drop us a line!
Vaga Lume Team
This is our last report of a very busy year!
As you may know, each year Vaga Lume’s Technical Team goes on monitoring trips to rural communities in the Amazon. But in 2015, getting close to our 15th year birthday, we decided to do even more, we visited all the community libraries in just one year to monitor and evaluate the work that has been done since 2001. It was 171 days in the field where we were able to train new volunteers as reading mediators, strength the relationship with the communities and a lot more.
During those 53.000 miles travelled, we received many visitors such as volunteers, representatives of our partners, groups of researchers, etc.. Among them, was Eliana Gagliardi. Graduated in Philosophy and in Applied Linguistic, she met the organization when the school she managed - Oswald de Andrade School – became part of Vaga Lume’s Intercultural Dialogue Program and now that she has retired, she came to us to be a volunteer.
She accompanied the monitoring expedition to the municipality of Ponte Alta do Tocantins, in Tocantins state. During the trip, she observed the reading mediation training session that Vaga Lume has promoted to youth in the community and after that, she wrote us a letter that we would like to share with you:
"Within my impressions of this expedition, I could see that Vaga Lume’s educators have experience and get along very well with community residents. I also realized that community residents were totally opened and interested in learning about reading mediation, about books and how important is to have access to them. They learnt to maintain the space and to offer it to the community so they can use it for storytelling, dance, and other cultural activities.
As a volunteer, I flied to learn. I've learnt with the educators of Vaga Lume, I've learnt with educators from the Amazon. I've learnt, among other things, to consider and interact with different cultures. This kind of learning demands attention, effort and open mind of all of the involved. Demands availability, mobilization and conviction that books and reading mediation can make difference: they are the first steps – along with literacy – to form readers and above all: citizens".
We are very happy to have Eliana as a volunteer and her letter gave us one more reason to continue working to create opportunities for cultural exchange through reading and valuing the protagonism of people from the Amazon. We hope you feel the same way!
We would like to thank you for being part of it and invite you to keep on navigating with us through the rural communities of the Amazon!
Other stories and news are available at www.vagalume.org.br/home
If you have any doubts or comments, do drop us a line!
Vaga Lume's Team.
If you have been following our story, you might remember that Vaga Lume’s educators have been traveling around the Brazilian Legal Amazon region since June this year to monitor and evaluate the work carried out at the community libraries where the organization operates.. Since the beginning of the trip, which is called "Vaga Lume Expedition - 15 years ", we've visited around 74 community libraries out of the existing 159.
Two weeks ago, I, together with two of Vaga Lume's educators, Celice and Aline visited the community libraries in Carauari, in the state of Amazonas, and met Melque. Melque has been helping Vaga Lume carry out its mission in Carauari since he was a teenager and today, he is the Representative of the municipality’s Local Team. Every month, Melque takes a small boat and begins a journey along the river Juruá (which is a southern affluent river of the Amazon River) to visit each community library that Vaga Lume helps to maintain. He usually takes with him new books to fill up the bookshelves and to encourage the people who live in those communities to engage with the project and to connect themselves with literature and reading.
During the last Expedition to Carauari, Melque took Vaga Lume's educators to a meeting with young protagonists that was being held at Pupuai's community. There, Melque introduced Vaga Lume Association to those who didn't know what it was, and made a brief speech: "I know that many of you have a library in your community that often receive books from Vaga Lume. I know that plenty of you here recognize the importance that those books have to you, to your parents, to our communities and to the region. I believe that education is something that leads us to a great future, and because of that, I'm part of Vaga Lume's team. We have the same beliefs; we consider education an empowerment tool and we know how important it is to put this tool in your hands. You, young protagonists, know what's best for yourself and for the place you live in. You know the importance of preserving your culture and what you -and all of us- need to do to keep it sustainable and alive. You have the tool that gives you power to build your own future".
Melque knows how important this job is because he understands the difference that books and reading had made in his life. Today, he knows how to read, but even more important than that, he knows that the world is much bigger than he thought. Today, he knows stories from all over the world! Through his own experience, Melque found out how inspiring literature can be and, because of that, he also became a role model for the children, young people and adults around him.
This is a simple but often repeated story of someone that does everything he can to provide a better education to the people of his community. And, thanks to your generosity, Vaga Lume is able to make it possible too. Every simple action can make a profound difference!
Your donation has been helping to change the life of Melque, young protagonists and all who live around them!
Thank you for being part of it!
Daniela, on behalf of the very proud Vaga Lume Team.
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