Born. 19.09.1921 in Recife; died 02.05.1997 in Sao Paulo, was a Brazilian educator and world-renowned author in theory and practice. Paulo Freire’s parents belonged to the middle class in Brazil. In the Great Depression Of 1929
he had to experience starvation. For this reason, the family moved to Jaboatao dos Guararapes, where his father died.

At the age of eleven, Paulo Freire dedicated his life to the fight against hunger.

Paulo Freire was not a very successful student. After School, he first studied law and became a lawyer; however, he was not convinced of his profession, with lawyers defending the ownership of the rich. For this reason, Paulo Freire became a teacher of portuguese. His interests were more in philosophy, psychology, pedagogy and languages.

At the age of 23, he married the teacher Elza Matia Costa. Five children emerged from this marriage. After marriage, Freire studied educational sciences. Between 1946 and 1954, Paulo Freire was the director of the department of educational sciences and culture in the state of Pernambuco. In 1946 he became a lecturer at the university of Recife. In 1959, Paulo Freire received his doctorate from the university of Recife. He remained at university and taught philosophy and educational sciences.

He began his literacy campaign in 1947. This campaign was not only a technique of the rapid and targeted acquisition of reading and writing skills, but also a method of awareness raising. This was the time Paulo Freire discovered the “Culture of Silence.” This is how he called the culture of the rural proletariat and the slum dwellers of Brazil. He sees how these people surrender to their destiny, how they fall into the myth of being worse people, and how they apathically trust their oppressors, such as landlords. Because the oppressors regulate everything for them, the oppressed therefore also reject education.

Paulo Freire wants to break up the prevailing passivity through his counter-concept. He introduces his anthropological concept of culture. It is meant to lead illiterates to realize that they can create culture in the same way as read people.

Many of his works have a high relevance both for discussions about civic participation and civil society, but also for technological change.

Paulo Freire has left us an important legacy:

  • His firm belief in the human person and his ability to form as a subject of history.
  • His staunch and coherent political stance with the cause of the people.
  • An ability to dream and hope.
  • An ambition to do, what he sees as right and to fight for it.
  • His modesty, which told him that no great work can be done on its own, and that it is necessary to always learn more.
  • His way of promoting popular education in order to change reality.
  • His pedagogy, which values the wisdom of the people and challenges them at the same time.
  • His particular concern about overcoming illiteracy to learn to “read the world.”