The Work in Brazil
The work in Brazil is carried out by our Brazilian sister organization, ACER – ‘The Association to Support Children at Risk’. The crime rate and documented level of violence in Eldorado has decreased significantly over the period that ACER has been active in the area, thanks in part to the work of the activity centre.
The work is organized into four units:
• Social Work
This unit works with children and their families in a variety of ways, using therapists and family educators to tackle issues such as violence, substance addiction and child labour. The most recent program to be initiated by this unit is the ‘Family Guardian Program’ which places children, who otherwise would be sent to live in shelters, with members of their extended families.
• Education and Culture
As well as housing the local municipal library in the activity centre there are a series of workshops for children and young people – these workshops cover a range of activities such as Capoeira, percussion and learning about African history and culture. There are strong links between the activity centre and local schools – 480 children from a local primary school attend workshops at the centre as part of their school day. A new skills training centre has recently been opened where courses can be held for the local population in partnership with specialist training organizations.
• Community Development
The work of this unit focuses on improving the economic and social welfare of the local area. There is a micro-financing initiative run from the activity centre which lends money to local businesses and micro-enterprises and there are a series of workshops which follow the New Economics Foundation methodology (www.neweconomics.org). Another key part of this unit is the ‘social incubator’ which encourages the foundation of local NGO’s and then supports them as they grow.
The activity centre runs 5 workshops with 7th and 8th grade students (12-15 years old) from a local school, during school hours, to encourage the students to think of ways to improve their local community. Support for planning and implementation comes from the charity. The project is called ‘Teens in Action’.
Although the majority of funding for these projects is raised in Brazil there are always shortfalls which the Children at Risk Foundation tries to cover by raising funds in the UK.
There is an excellent Brazilian website, maintained by our sister organization ACER
, that describes the work in more detail and includes more regular updates than will be found on this site. However the content of the site is entirely in Portuguese so we recommend you use a translation tool such as Google Translate.