The Paulo Freire Community Centre
In September 2001, the residents of Novo Bacabal inaugurated their “Paulo Freire Community Centre.” The self-managed house is open to neighborly groups and circles, to seminars, meetings, cultural and educational events that want to contribute to the sustainable development of the neighbourhood. It bears the name of the Brazilian educator Paulo Reglus Neves Freire, who was born in 1921 in Recife, in the neighboring state of Pernambuco.
The Paulo Freire community centre has a large meeting room (80sq m) and a kitchen and depot room (20sq m). A water reservoir (about 7000. liters), designed as a cistern, supplies the local families with drinking water from a deep well installed on the center’s site.
The centre has become a reference point for the community. Various projects, activities and events are realized in the community centre:
- The UNIDOS VENCEREMOS group (“Together we will win”), consisting of about 20 adults and older adolescents, meets regularly in the community centre PAULO FREIRE to develop initiatives to improve the social situation of the district and to realize them.
- The centre is used for cultural events and neighborhood festivals.
- Adult literacy classes were set up at the initiative of residents.
- Individual events on health and organic horticulture were attended by a large number of interested residents.
- The volunteers ‘ child pastoral ‘, an initiative of the Catholic Church to accompany pregnant women, infants, young children and their families, are meeting weekly in the community centre.
- The community-oriented educational project VAMOS! CRIANÇA works in community centre PAULO FREIRE with 60 children who have difficulties in learning and social behaviour due to a lack of family support and early childhood malnutrition.
- A herb garden was set up by the children of the project together with residents of the neighbourhood on the site of the community centre PAULO FREIRE. Courses are held on how to prepare and use herbal remedies.
- Regular group therapy sessions are held under the guidance of a trained therapist.
In the few years of its existence, community centre PAULO FREIRE has been able to make an important contribution to the social integration of the inhabitants of Novo Bacabal. It’s become a place where they get a voice, learn to speak and, most importantly, are heard.