2018 was a very special year for us - we broke the record of amount of sustainability learning journeys! we even hosted them for children in english and spanish language classes, giving them an opportunity to learn about the environment and practice their language skills.
With the help of all the students that came and visited, we also planted more than a thousand trees on the ground, around a spring that is just coming back inside our property. It was a great opportunity to show the kids in a very tangible way the relationship between trees and water, and how critical it is to protect the water basin around Rio.
This year we are already coming up with ideas to integrate the tools that they use in daily life to communicate and understand the world. We are preparing exercises with smartphones, like treasure hunts, trivias and plant-detecting apps, so they can reinforce the new knowlege they are getting while having fun - teaching them that having a connection with nature is not necessarily opposed to keeping up with their online life!
We have just inaugurated our Vitality Tent: a project made by volunteer architects experimenting with bioconstruction who built a structure made with only local and recycled materials, that was designed to fit into its environment in a way that would respect the landscape and enhance the sense of natural immersion.The valley in which it was built, surrounded by mountains and with running water, is home to many species of birds, turtles and even capivara!
This new space is the homebase to the inner skills component of our curriculum - a space of meditation that helps kids connect with the surrounding environment: the sounds, the smells and sights, and thus experience the harmonic relationship among living things. We then take some time to expore how we are feeling, what makes each of us unique: our own nature. This process helps us make a connection of the individual child with his or her own relationship with the environment, cultivating a bond that strengthens their sense of responsibility and sustainability!
We are very excited to use this space to explore the beauty of nature and continue caring for the fauna and flora that inhabit it. Thank you to our supporters who help us make the world a more beautiful and harmonic place!!
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!
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!
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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