Building peace in the minds of men and women

Projects on strengthening education, combating prejudice and inclusion of people with deficiency

Projects contribute to strengthening education, combat of prejudice and inclusion of people with deficiency in Brazil through Criança Esperança. Learn about some of the institutions with educational and social projects sponsored by Criança Esperança Programme.

The projects benefited by Criança Esperança across Brazil are selected annually by UNESCO. The sponsored institution divides the benefits received by the Programme into eight areas of action. One of areas is “Strengthening and supporting formal education”, which aims at selecting institutions committed to valuing, broadening and deepening discussions on education.

This debate is increasingly relevant to society in order to respond to the National Law 12.976, which determines that all children with more than 4 years old should be registered in school. This Law was sanctioned by President Dilma in April, 2013. It also turns mandatory the free provision of Basic Education by the government of all levels in the country for all children of this same age on.

"Education has developed in terms of school integration, but it still needs to have investiments in educational quality”, explains Priscila Cruz, Executive Director  of the movement All for Education (Todos pela Educação).

“Improving education is an enourmous task. During centuries we have not given due attention to it. For this reason, everyone has to be involved now. We have made progress in Basic Education, but the funnel is intensified in the Upper Secondary Education. Education is an obligation of the State and of the Family. It is included in the Constitution (of Brazil). The non-governamental organizations also play an important role in sponsoring and strengthening education”, remarks Priscila.

The Our Library Cultural Space, in Belém (Pará, Brazil), is an example among the non-governamental institutions that have strengthened the education of children for 35 years through cultural promotion. The project “Literary Space: fostering reading for children and adolescentes of Guamá Neighbourhood" was benefited by Criança Esperança in 2013. With this support, it has been able to expand its actions. They have acquired more pedagogical materials and tools, they have hired educational professional to workshops and additional professionals to run the project.

For Denis Mizne, “the challenge of the organizations is to make a difference”. Denis Mizne is the Executive Director of Lemann Foundation (Brazil), an non-profit organization that aims at contributiong to improve the quality of learning. She also affirms that “It is necessary to establish partnerships to add value. Some institutions provide regular courses and other offer complimentary activities during the alternative school period. Independing of the kind of work done, it is necessary that it is integrated to the school’s pedagogical project. It is not enough to be a spare time activitiy.”

The Association Art House of Education and Culture is another example. The institution has worked with projects for popular communities of Rio de Janeiro for 12 years. In 2007, the institution created a methodology called Mandala dos Saberes (Knowledge Mandala). It is a social technology that has collaborated with broadening the dialogue between schools and communities, valuing the integration between local knowledge and academic knowledge. The institution was granted the sponsorship of  Criança Esperança for the  project “Education for Science and the Environment –– sustainable development and popular technologies”. With this benefit it was possible to acquire special material for the science laboratory, materials for the workshops (pedagogical kits) and the preparation of informative folders for the National Science and Technology Week. In addition, the grant financed the payment of teachers and pedagogical coordinators.

Since 2004, the Peró Art and Citizenship Institute, in Pernambuco (Brazil), also contributed to the development of children and youth by organizing workshops on music, dance, citizenship, and Reading promotion, etc. The institution received the benefit of Criança Esperança for the project Histórias Andantes (Travelling Stories). It was implemented in public spaces and in municipal schools of Jaboatão dos Guararapes, where reading mediation activities were developed using books, models and toys.

“The Criança Esperança sponsorship has really facilitated our work. We can already see the positive results in the children’s learning process, and their reading skills are improving”, tells Erika Barbosa, Social Assistant that works in the institution.

Projects benefited by Criança Esperança combat prejudice

Another area in which the benefits from Criança Esperança are divided is “Racial and gender diversity” and it aims at choosing institutions that are concerned of valuing, broadening and deepening on prejudice issues. For Reinaldo Bulgarelli, Educator and Social Director of Txai Consulting and Education, it is necessary to recognize the existing prejudice, to understand how it produces damages, as well as to work the theme in schools with a perspective to improve the quality of relations with one another.

“There is a problem in the relations and not a problem with Blacks. It is essential to avoid the practice of racism and not to be conniving with it so that schools can play their educating role. It is necessary to identify racism practices, to talk about it, and to refuse any form of racist situation,” reinforces Reinaldo.

There are institutions that struggle daily for racial and gender equality. This is the case of ArtEducação Nego D'água, Cultural Art-Education Institute Nego D'água, from Juazeiro, Bahia (Brazil), sponsored by Criança Esperança. The Institute was created from a great movement of art and education in 2001. The institution involves the partnership of five NGOs (Cria, OAF, Bagunçaço, Casa das Filarmônicas e Circo Picolino). It has had the participation of more than 1,000 children and adolescents and the training of more than 30 art-educators. It proposal is to contribute to the debate on the issues of Black people, assisting children and adolescents through art and education activities, with workshops of ballet, African dance, circus, capoeira, philharmonic, making of dolls, and drama, as well as workshops on storytelling among other activities.

Women also suffer prejudice. “The black girl is the most vulnerable to face racist practices and it reflects in her adult life. Black women are at the bottom of the income earning pyramid,” explains Reinaldo.

To combat gender discrimination, Criança Esperança sponsors projects in 2013 that help in raising women’s and girls’ self-esteem. This is the case, for example, of Institute Pro-Education and Health (Proeza). Founded in 2003, the Proeza is a non-governmental organization meant to develop income generating projects through women’s professionalization, as well as their inclusion in productive segments of economy, focusing Family residents in the Federal District (Brazil).

The benefited project “Rewriting Life Stories” assists children and adolescents of 6 to 14 years-old with backgrounds related to child-labour, domestic violence, sexual abuse and other forms of social and economic vulnerability in the city of Recanto das Emas (Federal District, Brazil). There are classrooms for the alternative school period of ballet, jiu-jitsu, street dance, music and drama, besides psychosocial assistence. The project also aims at providing therapeutic embroidery workshops to mothers, which are conducted by one instructor and one psychologist.

The Women in Action Group, also sponsored by Criança Esperança, is an feminist organization created in 1994 with the mission of being an instrument for struggling, mobilizing and organizing women and their families of Mossoró city, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil). The Group assists 26 communities of urban and rural areas of the city.

“To recognize the problem, to talk about it, to study about it, and to mobilize school communities to learn to see qualities in the differences and the difference as a quality is an implicit activity in school. It is an exercise as are many others that should be part of everyday life, part of the essence to be a school and to collaborate in building a more inclusive, respectful and just country free of racism. Schools need to be careful with contents, teaching materials, relationships between one another, considering the existence of racism and that it should be faced and dealt within the political and pedagogical school Project. It is sad to see white adults say that only long after school that the started to be aware of racist problems,” regrets the educator.

Inclusion of people with deficiency is guarantee of constitutional rights

Buildings that respect norms of accessibility, schools that practice inclusive education with quality, and public transportations designed to guarantee the right to freedom of movement of citizens are examples of ideal measures for a city that intends to respond to all of its inhabitants, respecting their differences. Among the areas to select the projects benefited by Criança Esperança is the “inclusion of people with deficiency” with the intention to stimulate actions linked to this theme.

In Brazil, the Federal Constitution determines that all citizens have equal rights to education, to culture, to leisure and to work. However, in order to guarantee that all have effectively access to these rights it is necessary to consider the differences among individuals. “People with deficiency are included when public policies are also capable to reach them”, affirms the National Secretary of Promotion of the Rights of People with deficiency, Antônio José Ferreira.

In November 2011, the Federal Government launched the National Plan of the Rights of People with Deficiency to Live without Limits. This governmental policy has the objective of involving 15 ministries in the promotion of actions that develop and improve the assistence of people with deficiency in the country.

According to Antônio José Ferreira, many of the initiatives of this plan are destined to social inclusion of children and adolescents in measures that include health attention to babies, promotion of accessibility and inclusive education. According to him, the greatest challenge among many of the on-going projects on the theme is to achieve the consolidation of these actions. “The challenge is to establish a public policy of consolidated inclusion in Brazil,” he affirms.

The lack of information and the prejudice in relation to people with deficiency can be considered as challenges to be overcome in the struggle for social inclusion. Alana Ribeiro is the director of Projeto Diferente Foundaton, an instituition created in 1989, in Fortaleza (Brazil) that works in favour of psychosocial development of austist children and youth and other global developing deficiencies. The Foundation has been sponsored by Criança Esperança this year. According to her, social inclusion of austist children and youth, for example, is even more difficult due to the lack of knowledge about the illness by the great majority of the population.  She stresses that there have been more reporting on autism on TV, and this is contributing to the dissemination of information on this disease. “We have been visited by parents that did not know that the problem with their children was autism, and due to the disseminated information they feel more comfortable to go after further information on the issue”, says Alana.

Other institutions also sponsored by Criança Esperança are reference in the promotion of social inclusion of people with deficiency. The Institute of Instruction and Work for the Blinds of Londrina, Paraná (Brazil), has collaborated with social integration of people with visual deficiency for 34 years. The Institute Works with the objective of guaranteeing Independence and life quality through full-time training.

Works like these are crucial for breaking prejudice and for education the population to deal with differences. “Today, there are still many paradigms in relation to deficiencies. However, the main role of society is to demystify these beliefs around individual with deficiency and go forward in building a society capable of better assisting this diversity,” affirms Janaína Notari, Vice-Director of Integration Centre of the Special Child - Kinder, an institution that is also sponsored by Criança e Esperança and that is equally dedicated to the promotion of inclusion of people with deficiency.

Kinder was founded in Porto Alegre and develops rehabilitation and education of people with multiple deficiencies. Since 1988, the institution, which believes in the learning potential of any human being, contributed to the construction of a more inclusive country. “We offer to people with multiple deficiencies favourable conditions for the development of their potential skills”, explains Janaína.

Source:  Globo TV/Criança Esperança Programme.