Learning outdoors for children of the favelas

by Instituto Sinal do Vale
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Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Learning outdoors for children of the favelas
Luana, Swiss, talking about local medicinal plants
Luana, Swiss, talking about local medicinal plants

These past few months we have given a new spin to our environmental learning journeys for children: we are making use of the diversity of our staff to host children learning different languages, such as english and spanish, and matching their learning level to some vocabulary and grammar about environmentalism. 

It has been a great entrypoint to get children interested in the environment, and it has given us the opportunity to build a global message: we all come from different places, speak different languages and have different cultures, but share the same natural world and its resources, as well as the responsibility to care for it! We have found that giving this larger perspective has sunk in the importance of environmental efforts in the different groups we have hosted.

Another interesting effect has been sharing our own stories of how we came to live in the Atlantic Rainforest and love its biodiversity. It has made some of the children of Rio feel inspired about the beauty of their surroundings and made them reflect about the unique richness of this forest. 

We will continue to share with them stories about our backgrounds and our passion for the Atlantic Rainforest to the children hoping to plant a seed in their hearts. A big big thank you to all our donors who help us create memorable experiences to the future generations!

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This month we hosted about 70 kids from the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area who came to SINAL to help us plant pioneer trees in a reforestation area, learn about the Atlantic Rainforest, its biodiversity, and what we do to protect it!

After a briefing session where we discussed questions like the destination of the trash we throw away at home, the balance of the ecosystem, and alternative ways of growing food, we went on a trail to visit the biggest tree in the valley, more than 150 years old, and see what a natural spring looks like.

We did a workshop where we made chocolate desserts made with our own cacao and local foods, and a treasure hunt identifying medicinal plants, vegetables we are growing in the garden, and some of our sustainability projects like bamboo bioconstruction.

Finally, we planted around 150 Ingá trees in an area in process of reforestation and visited another area that is already populated with pioneer trees, and the biodiversity is coming back! 

A big thank you to our donors for helping us create a space of exploration, learning and sensibilization. We cultivate it with love and the hope that it will foster the concept of sustainability and love for the environment in the coming generations!

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Evando (left) during the workshop at SINAL
Evando (left) during the workshop at SINAL

We want to tell you a very special story for this report about Evando, a young community leader.

In our last report, we told you about our leadership training workshops for youth in peripheral communities who want to make a difference in their lives, and the lives of their neighbors. These workshops result in project proposals that have to do with sustainability, women empowerment and community development. 

In November of last year we met Evando, a wonderful young leader from the Baixada Fluminense - the peripheral area around Rio de Janeiro - who had been active trying to mobilize his community to work together to make it a better place to live. During the training he was very open and generous with the group, and actively participated brainstorming projects, discussing identity, culture and dialogue.

This year, Evando was chosen by the Active Citizens program of the British Council, to take a study trip to England! He travelled this month,  meeting other young leaders from different parts of the world and geting to know other similar projets being implemented there. 

While on his trip, he reached out to tell us how amazed he was with the experience and excited to be part of a network of young people trying to make a difference in the world through local actions. He told us there were many firsts that week: it was the first time he ever left the country, the first time he rode on a train, the first time he saw the snow, and the first time he got invited into a City Hall and was even awarded a gift by the Mayor. He had never had the opportunity to meet such a diverse cultural group, and was very inspired to see how we can all work together towards the same goal.

Evando is back in Brazil and working on a proposal to create a communal garden that will not only embellish the community, but also  incentivice teamwork and sustainable practices. We are incredibly happy and proud to see him grow and have lifechanging experiences.

A huge thank you to our donors who help us organize these events that allows to find opportunities for young people who want to make a difference, and to create a platform for them to take on a journey towards becoming Changemakers!

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Last year, we began a series of leadership workshops for youths in the periphery of Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with Active Citizens British Council. This month we began a new cycle training wonderful passionate leaders who work with vulnerable children. Through a series of games and challenges, we discussed the ideas of identity, dialogue and community dynamics to empower them to raise their voice and take actions in their communities to affect a positive change.

Taking advantage of the beautiful landscape surrounding SINAL, we integrated the characteristics of our spaces and the forest into the activities, believing that connecting with nature and feeling the calmness that it provides helped the participants to relax, feel more at home and in tune with each other. 

A big thank you to all our donors for helping us make events like this possible. Last year, our class of leaders ended up creating a project that impacted public policy in their community! we can't wait to see what this year will bring.

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Playing "hot potato" with an onion
Playing "hot potato" with an onion

Once a month until the end of the school year in december, we have been visiting the local public school of Hervalina Diniz to play a "gincana" with the children. Gincana is a brazilian term for a friendly competition that consists of creative games that score points across time until finally, the winning team gets a special prize.

In this case, we have developed a series of challenges for the kids to identify healthy food, how it is grown, and what could be done to grow it in a healthy way for the environment. The winning team will get the chance to go to a waterpark! 
The gincana was designed by Sinal staff and a nutricionist who specializes in teaching children healthy eating habits. 

The teams have been already divided into 3 big groups and the kids are very excited and participative - we are very happy and hope they will take this knowledge with them home to their families! this is an essential part of the success of the project.

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Organization Information

Instituto Sinal do Vale

Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Thais Corral
General Coordinator
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro Brazil
$6,197 raised of $30,000 goal
79 donations
$23,803 to go
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