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Provide Quality Education to 15000 Amazon Children

by Vaga Lume Association
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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

The Brazilian Legal Amazon corresponds to 61% of the national territory and covers nine out of twenty-seven of the Brazilian states. The region concentrates one of the greatest diversities of fauna and flora in the world. In addition, there is a diversity of communities that inhabit it: more than 180 indigenous people, more than 500 quilombola communities – the descendants of slaves who escaped from Brazil's plantations in order to build a new community to achieve its freedom -,  riverside communities, and the populations who are living in large cities that might recognize themselves or not in these denominations and groups.

Thus, in addition to all the environmental diversity, we also find many different cultures present in the Amazon, each one with its own form of organization and social interaction. Some researches show an important dimension of the life of the populations that live in the forest: the management of the biodiversity in these communities happens through its cultural practices, cultivated since centuries ago through the use of techniques of low environmental impacts.

These studies also show that the removal of populations from their lands, the interference in the way they live and the occupation of the land for activities such as the cultivation of soybeans or cattle, can generate impacts that has no coming back from to one of thewealthiest natural reserves in the world. Nowadays, it is possible to affirm that the main threats present in the region are due to deforestation, caused predominantly by illegal logging and agriculture.

All these forms of the use of the land generate conflicts and interfere in the way traditional populations live and use the soil, whether they are riverside, indigenous or quilombolas. These impacts cause losses for society in general, such as environmental de-characterization, loss of quality of life and increase of violence.

Since 2019, both traditional populations and the biodiversity of the forest have been threatened due to the increase of fires, often illegal, and the persecution of traditional people. In 2020, in addition to the risk that these populations are facing due to the arrival of COVID-19 in the region, they had to face deforestation and the risk of protecting their territory. Data shows that Brazil is one of the deadliest countries for environmental activists *. Researches indicate that the increase in deforestation and the persecution of traditional peoples may be related to the federal government ‘s strong position of encouraging the use of weapons and exploring the soil for production in the Amazon region.

Traditional populations have been in constant fight for their rights, their occupied lands and the maintenance of their culture. Due to the current scenario, it is extremely important that we support traditional communities by recognizing their importance to environmental conservation and valuing their cultures.

 

* Global Witness

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Vaga Lume's Youth Council education mobilization
Vaga Lume's Youth Council education mobilization

Reactivated at the end of 2018, the Youth Council of Vaga Lume is composed of 8 former participants of the Net Program who decided to form a group of young volunteers willing to help in the Program's activities and in others Vaga Lume events after acquiring the lessons provided by intercultural exchange. The Council's return in 2019 came in full swing: the volunteers were present at institutional events and were able to share their experiences with cultural exchange in spaces such as the 9th Congress and even the Annual Net Camp.

This year, the Council has been even more active and has participated in several fronts of the organization. On their own initiative the group of young volunteers started to participate in our social media with two posts per month. In addition, during quarantine, the Council is developing activities that keep the teenagers of Net Program engaged with cultural activities, books and reading. In July, the challenge proposed for teenagers was to recite poetry and contribute to a joint work that resulted in a recitation library shared between the participants. Finally, the Council is also mobilizing politically in favor of maintaining and developing public and quality education in Brazil, which is constantly under attack and risk.

With the involvement of former participants in the planning and implementation of Vaga Lume actions aimed at cultural exchange, it is possible to obtain a more accurate dimension of the medium and long term impacts of the Net Program on teenagers, in addition to facilitating constant improvement and reinvention of the actions proposed by the Program. Thus, the impact of the program on youth empowerment is evident. By being able to count on the participation of these young people in institutional events and actions, doors are opening for the generation of autonomy and of their own and even greater social engagement by the ex-participants of the Program.

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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.

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Acetate masks donated to Cururupu (MA) health unit
Acetate masks donated to Cururupu (MA) health unit

Vaga Lume is constantly learning and seeks to understand its role in this pandemic, which, unfortunately, has had a major impact in the Brazilian Amazon. Only in the state of Amazonas, the largest state in the region, 48,785 confirmed cases and 2,250 deaths from COVID-19 until June 6th.

This virus has exposed to the world three important things about the Amazon: first, it is a region that is well populated. This confronts the stereotype that, in the forest, there are a few tribes in remote areas. Specialists say that there are only 30 to 40 small tribes deep in the forest without contact with the outside world. In the Amazon there are millions (24 to be exact) inhabitants that occupies riverbeds of the forest and its interiors. The second thing, related to first one, is that these communities are well linked to each other. The virus did spread quite rapidly because boats go through many of the regions of the Amazon. These boats carry around 150+ passengers and stops very often in the communities through the rivers. So, the virus got well adapted to travel by boat. In a recent study, Tefé, a city which is a hub to the western Amazon, had around 25% of people infected by the virus. This leads to the third conclusion: that public policy is not efficient in this region, and basic services just don’t work. There are very few ICUs in Manaus, Belém, Macapá and Rio Branco, but none in the smaller villages, so that is why mortality rate is bigger.

To understand our role in this context, we followed two of our values: "Listening" and "Humanism". We held consultations to understand how we could act building a bridge between those who need contributions and those who want to contribute. To protect and support 960 volunteers and rural communities in the Amazon, Vaga Lume started a humanitarian campaign that has already distributed: 8,050 cloth face masks for the communities, 2,100 acetate masks to support the hospitals and health units and 1,200 units of alcohol gel. In addition, we mobilized psychologists to provide support to volunteers and communities. Throughout this process, we continue supporting education and culture, rethinking the roles of the library and the books in context.

Facial mask delivered to Caju Una community
Facial mask delivered to Caju Una community
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Marluce and the poetry in Portuguese
Marluce and the poetry in Portuguese

How are our volunteers in the Amazon doing during the quarantine?

As shown in our last report, Vaga Lume has reimagined ways to keep volunteers engaged and involved with writing and reading during the current situation.

In order to do this, we released a series of challenges for the communities we support. Today we want to share with you one of the results of the “Tales and Poetry Challenge: COVID-19 and the quarantine”, in which volunteers sent us poems and stories with their reflections on the current scenario and the perspective for the future.

 

“PANDEMIC

The pandemic exists in books and movies

In this generation, I’ve never seen such thing

Sad reality, in this unequal world.

 

If we give it a thought

We come to the conclusion,

Everything became apart, so there can be union

 

If we cannot unite the world

Let us start with ourselves

Get your family together

And speak as one

 

Rebuild what is broken

Forgive what needs forgiving

Resolve what needs resolving

Love who needs loving

 

When all this is over

Family must arise strong

For it must restart,

with the certainty that dodged death

 

But for those that lost,

Do not be shaken

Here I give you a hint

Get happiness in that place”

 

-Marluce, Vaga Lume's volunteer since 2013 from Corre Água community – Macapá AP

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Organization Information

Vaga Lume Association

Location: Sao Paulo - Brazil
Website:
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Project Leader:
Lia Jamra
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil
$36,692 raised of $50,000 goal
 
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