Vaga Lume’s cultural exchange program, known as Net Program, focuses on reducing the existing gaps and distances between teenagers from rural communities in the Legal Amazon Forest and from São Paulo, and one of its most important contributions to the youths that participate on the project it is the construction of a respectful and equal dialogue - considering socioeconomic, educational, racial and territorial inequalities -, between these realities.
Currently, following the recommendations of international health agencies, Vaga Lume was able to adapt the project in a way that the participants could still be able to have exchanges and youth engagement, even by distance and remotely. One of the solutions that the Organization found to keep the exchanges ongoing, which could occur by revisiting how the Program used to make the exchanges in the beginning back to 2005, was to carry out through the exchange of letters. This idea was revived as we understand that it is a safe solution to carry out exchanges considering the pandemic scenario and social distancing.
Within each letter it is possible to find the teenagers' curiosity for the exchange pairs' experience, such as the desire to know the different realities and cultures found in Brazil. The letters also share how each teenager is dealing during this period of social isolation and the solutions that were developed by each one of them. These letters were already produced and some are already on their way to the communities and São Paulo.
Vaga Lume understands that this action contributes to teenagers to develop socio-emotional competencies and skills capable of making them have a broader worldview and be able to exercise their citizenship.
In addition, we highlight the importance of these exchanges as it contributes to the lives of teenagers during the pandemic. The North region of the country, where the rural communities that participate in Vaga Lume’s project are located, doesn’t offer the necessary infrastructure to keep children and teenagers engaged with education and culture, there are only few communities that have quality internet access and often there isn’t access to fulltime energy. The participation in the Program, even if through a simple action such as the exchanging of letters, mobilizes young people and promotes involvement with reading and writing.