An opportunity for your own Forces – The alternative educational project VAMOS! CRIANÇA

In 1998, in the small town of Bacabal in the northeastern brazilian state of Maranhão, child pastoral employees, health workers and residents of the outskirts of the city Alto da Assunção initiated an alternative educational Project. It bears the name Vamos! CRIANÇAWhich means “Let’s go, kids!” Today, in Alto Da Assunção (hill of the assumption) and another outskirt of Bacabal, Novo-Bacabal (New Bacabal), 120 boys and girls aged 7-16 meet to play and learn with each other. All were malnourished as toddlers and therefore now have communication and learning difficulties. The educational concept of the project is based on the example of the brazilian liberation educator Paulo Freire. In Alto da Assunção, the project uses two rooms of the ecclesiastical community centre, and in Novo-Bacabal the newly built community centre Paulo Freire is available for the project work. The project is coordinated by brazilian educators and social educators. Each of the five groups of 24 children is accompanied by two pedagogical staff members. They live in the same district, so they know the everyday life of the children particularly well and try to respond to their individual needs with targeted pedagogical offers. Monthly and annual planning and evaluation meetings, regular training courses and joint excursions by the pedagogical team, which consists of the group leaders and a three-person project management, also contribute to this.

The pedagogical team

Our pedagogical team

Matching the photo, bottom row from left:

Manuel Goncalves Lemos – project coordination; Joseane Costa dos Santos – social educator Novo Bacabal; Jose Filho Marques da Conceicao – social educator and capoeira teacher in Novo Bacabal; Vandinalda Barbosa de Aquiar – social educator Alto Da Assuncao; Maria Vanusa de Aquiar dos Santos – social educator Novo Bacabal; Marcia Cristina Medeiros Chaves – social educator Novo Bacabal; Luiz Paulo – social educator Novo Bacabal; Pia Proksch – intern in Alto da Assuncao;

Top row from left:

Vilciele Silva Damasceno – project coordination; Liduina Costa Pinto – social educator Alto da Assuncao; Neliene the Gracas Mendes – social educator Alto da Assuncao; Thayse Phamera Aguiar – pregnancy representation as a social educator in Novo Bacabal (volunteer); Maria de Jesus Vieira dos Santos – social rducator Alto da Assuncao; Katrin Zierhut – Volunteer (World WTC) in project coordination;

Youth work

At the end of 2003, the project with 15 young people (average age 15 years) designed and launched a pilot program in Alto da Assunção. This was initiated by the changed needs of the children, who had already participated in the project for three or more years and for whom continuous work was now being sought on the basis of the already existing project experiences. Under educational guidance, the group meets three times a week to:

  • work out age-related topics (sexuality, drugs, violence, environment, etc.),
  • learn and apply artisanal techniques,
  • discover and promote skills in the artistic-spiritual/cultural area.

Based on the positive experience with this work, the program was expanded to a further 15 young people in the Novo-Bacabal district in 2005.