This month, SINAL and the students from Hervalina Diniz hosted an event on sustainability in the plaza of Santo Antonio, a plaza that has been abondoned and that we are trying to revitalize and repair with a message of sustainability.
In this event for the community, we promoted healthy and sustainable eating with free samples of SINAL classic treats, showed the community how to re-use plastic bottles for planting and compost, and traded knowledge on ecological living. In collaboration with the student council of Hervalina, our own artist, Luana Cavalcante, organized a mosaic for the plaza theatre. The students came up with what to say : "Todo Mundo Junto" which means everyone together! The students came to SINAL a week earlier to prepare the letters and then on the day of the event, they finished up the writing and posted it on the wall of the outdoor amphitheatre. Many other children and community members participated in the mosaic and we were able to discover many new artists in the community that love art and were eager to learn more about mosaic. Mosaics are a really interesting form of art because they re-use the discarded pieces of tiles that construction and flooring companies cannot use. Moreover, unlike paint which wears off and must be re-done later, mosaic lasts forever!
The event was one of the first actions we are taking to restore the plaza. We plan to continue to occupy it, jointly with the community and the children of the school, to create a space that promotes culture, community, and sustainability.
We are deeply grateful to all our donors who are helping make this possible!
Partnerships and Programs Coordinator at Sinal do Vale
At the end of May, SINAL hosted a group of students from the american university, Canisisus College, as part of a Learning Journey on sustainability in the Atlantic Rainforest. On Day 4 of their journey, the students came with the SINAL team to work with the children from Hervalina Diniz school to revitalize and reform part of the enclosed courtyard space in the school. Since last year, the SINAL team has been working with the director and the students to improve the space - painting murals, starting a garden, and builidng a recycled tool shed. With Canisius, we had a full morning of painting, cleaning, designing, and building. We use recycled materials to build new furniture where the children can sit and read, using pallets and old tires. The students painted beautiful desingns on the walls and made a tree out of handprints! The kids had a wonderful time as well as the Americans - the children were excited to get to practice their english with the university students and the Americans were thriled to be able to make a concrete difference during their time.
We look forward to continuing to reform and improve the space so that the children can spend more time outside in a safe, beautiful and inspiring environment.
This month we celebrated the launch of the Illustrated Story Book of the Aventura dos Sabores. With our partners from Novos Urbanos, we designed a illustrated story book of the step by step actions that we took to make the adventure happen. Each page shows a different part of the journey: mapping the adventure, planning and co-creating with the teachers, guiding the students through the missions of tasting and re-connection, planting in the garden, making their own creative and natural foods, and celebrating their experience. The illustrated book was turned into a series of posters that we put up on the walls at the school so that the students can remember their experience, the teachers can refer to the story, and outsiders wanting to replicate the adventure have a reference for how we were able to succeed. On the day of the launch, the students of of the original Adventure class came to inaugurate the posters, as well as members of Novos Urbanos and American author and creator of the Local Food Challenge, Vicki Robin. We hope that the Illustrated Story Book will help to provide continuity for the Adventure, so that we - and other organizations - can replicate the food-filled adventure in other schools and communities. (To see the illustrated story book, check it out here! https://issuu.com/claudiapires7/docs/aventura_dos_sabores_cartilha_/1 )
In other news, the SINAL team continues to improve the SINAL das Criancas living laboratory space. This month, we added a greenhouse where the seedlings for the garden will grow. When students come to SINAL, they will be able to learn how greenhouses protect the young plants before we transplant them in the garden. In our medicinal plant area, we are continuing to add new native plants that the children can learn about. Our local workers from the small town of Santo Antonio in which we are located are experts in the plants that grow around here and help us to choose the plants. We strive to preserve the cultural knowledge of medicinal plants and help connect the experience of the older generation with the younger ones.
The Aventura dos Sabores (Adventures of Flavors) continued in the months of October and November with great success and excitement at the school. After the missions phase of the project, in which the students researched the origins of their food and took visits to SINAL, they were able to apply the lessons in the "laboratory" and build the school's first garden. With the help of the SINAL team, the space behind the school was recuperated and the students spent a day transplanting the seedlings that they had planted at SINAL the month before. The math class was the lucky group to inaugurate the garden, so the math teacher had the students use the opportunity to measure and quantify the different amount of space needed between different types of plants (broccoli, collard greens, etc.) The class is now working to invent a practical irrigation system that will alleviate the burden of having to water the garden on a daily basis.
In November, the last phase, the "celebration" occurred with a fun, healthy picnic where the kids learned to make a no-bake, all natural cake using almond sprouts and apples. The kids loved experimenting with the fresh fruits and discovering that healthy food can be delicious, too. SINAL brought a natural food activist that taught the kids the recipes and engaged them in a dialogue on freeing themselves from the processed food industry and reconnecting with local products. The following week, the students were able to showcase all they had learned at the year-end "Integral Fair" where students brough their own healthy foods and local recipes - such as banana peel cake, green juices, and jack fruit lasagna. It was wonderful to see the students becoming the teachers, as the Aventura dos Sabores students showed their peers the delicious but healthy and local recipes they had learned.
The teachers involved in the project told the SINAL team that the Aventura dos Sabores reinvigorated and inspired them and their classes, giving them the energy and support they needed. The project will most likely be replicated in 2016 with other classes!
In the months of August and September, SINAL has been developing a project on local food with the students of the neighboring Santo Antonio school - the initiative is called "Aventure of Tastes" (Aventura dos Sabores). The goal of the project is to create a replicable model for school interventions focused on teaching nutrition and empowering kids to value local, sustainable and healthy food. The project consists of the students completing several interactive and experimential "missions," participating in a laboratory where they will apply their learnings from the missions, and finally celebrating their experiences with a local food festival. The project has been a co-creation between the SINAL team, the students and teachers of the school, and the Brazilian organization Novos Urbanos.
The first mission for the students was to visit the markets and grocery stores in the town of Santo Antonio to interview the store owners about where their food comes from. Students took photos, videos, and wrote about their experiences using social media. Their second mission was to come to SINAL for a treasure hunt to learn about what can be grown locally in their town. It was a day of exploration for the kids to see what it looks like to produce healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. The students learned about the gardens, the worm compost, and the dry bathroom. They planted seeds in the plant nursery, sang songs about the forest, and matched seeds with their proper leaves and flowers. One SINAL volunteer recalls how excited the kids were to be able to explore the SINAL grounds, playing in the fresh air, surrouded by the lush forest and gardens, which is so different from their small classrooms.
After the first stage of missions is finished, the SINAL team will work with the students to build a garden and compost in the school, as well as create recipes for the school lunches to use locally grown food. It has been an exciting past month and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the students and teachers, who have all been very enthusiastic and engaged through the process.
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