the original version in Portuguese, please click
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Tomás de Souza, 552
05836-350 São Paulo, Brazil
Tel: (Oxx11) 5851-5370, 5851-0006, FAX: 5851-1089 (from abroad: +55-11-5851- )
email@example.com - www.sab.org.br/monteazul/english.htm
(Visiting Days: Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:30am)
ATTENTION: The ACOMA has now its own site, also with informations in English. Please look at www.monteazul.org.br.
Favelas (Slums) are like mirrors of contemporary society. They reflect a large portion of its inequalities and injustices. They are mirrors in which few people wish to view themselves. On the contrary, one tries to pass quite far from them, and if this is not possible and a look at these human conglomerates is inevitable, one feels compassion and/or fear. To avoid all this discomfort, the favelas are either eradicated through expulsion, or hidden behind billboards. Nonetheless, the problems remain.
There is, however, another form of solving these problems, a less immediate, albeit much more respectful, durable and true form: organizing the community.
ACOMA was founded on January 25, 1979, as a consequence of some work begun by the educator Ute Craemer.
Living in the Vila das Belezas neighborhood (southern part of São Paulo), Ute frequently received children of a neighboring favela. On these occasions, she let them play in her backyard. As time passed, these visitors increased in number, and their visits became more frequent. Ute, who was a class teacher of the then Escola Rudolf Steiner de São Paulo (the oldest and biggest Waldorf School in Brazil, now Escola Waldorf Rudolf Steiner de São Paulo), invited her students to come to play and do some handicrafts with the favela children. The contact of these children, coming from quite different realities, contributed to awakening in them the consciousness of a world of differences, where sharing is an urgent and essential attitude.
The backyard became too small for this work with children, which was slowly organized and expanded. In 1979 Ute obtained a donation, which made possible the foundation of ACOMA and the construction of the "Escolinha" ("Little School", a center for complementing and reinforcing normal schooling), on land which belonged to the city administration, close to the Monte Azul ("Blue Hill") favela.
Counting on the increasing help of collaborators, both residents and outsiders of the favela, ACOMA began to develop its activities. These activities tried to satisfy the needs of the community at all levels, confronting political waves which came and go, social-cultural resistance, bureaucratic barriers and the daily, ever present lack of resources.
Presently 145 permanent collaborators, 60% of whom are favela residents and 30 of whom are Brazilian and foreign external volunteers, work with the community, for a self-sufficient organization. They are oriented by the certainty that the human being should be more than just a survivor: each one should be a fulfilled and conscious person, able to reflect and transform his or her reality with wisdom.
Since 1979 ACOMA is developing the following types of activities at 3 nuclei: favelas Monte Azul (3,800 residents) and Peínha (2,000), and the Horizonte Azul ("Blue Horizon") neighborhood (12,000):
Through the methodology of Waldorf Education (please click here for its page in Portuguese), of medicine enlarged by the principles of Anthroposophy (please click here for its page in Portuguese), and the search for ideas in the social realm, ACOMA aims to stimulate a growth process in the individual as well as in the community.
Please refer to Ute Kraemer's book in English on the Internet through links at the Publication/Books section below.
The assurance of access to education is one of ACOMA's priorities. From nursery through kindergarten, pre-school, youth centers and school for handicapped, about 930 boys and girls receive pedagogical assistance in their whole development, including complementary classes for those who go to public schools. Artistic activities, balanced meals and medical assistance belong to these children's lives. In a well-furnished cabinetmaking workshop (joinery), young people learn how to make furniture and educational toys. Some receive scholarships of half a national minimum salary, and receive part of the profit. Products are sold in the store maintained in the favela Monte Azul by ACOMA, or in shops in other neighborhoods. Moreover, young people may learn weaving, electricity and electrical appliances, computers, doll making, and recycling of paper, furniture and appliances in the respective workshops.
One of the goals of ACOMA is not just transmitting information to children and young people, but educating them. This is done through participation in their global development and giving incentive to young people and adults to take their destinies in their own hands, thus making them able to transform the harsh reality of their social environment.
Educational work done with children is extended to young people and adults through professional courses. In the workshops are offered not just basic professional skills, but also training in reading and writing. Moreover, a school for handicapped children and young people was created, alongside two protected workshops on musical instruments and weaving. Educational activities involve:
- Nursery (about 200 children) - to see a picture of a nursery, please click here.
- Kindergartens (about 100 children aged 3-6)
- Pre-school (about 80 children aged 6-7)
- Youth center (about 400 children and young people aged 7-14 in 3 nuclei)
- Art workshops
- Cabinetmaking (joinery): learning and producing (about 40 young people aged 13-17) - to see a picture of the carpentry with playthings produced there, please click here.
- Bakery: learning and producing
- Electrical and computer workshop (12 young people)
- School for handicapped (50 children and young people)
- Course for nursery, kindergarten and youth center educational assistants.
- Social workshop for young people and community educators
- Workshop in furniture recycling (10 young people aged 15-21)
- "Tribo da Trilha" [Trail Tribe] - ecological-cultural excursions
Clinical services are rendered to residents and even to other neighborhoods in 2 centers (Peínha and Monte Azul). Medical assistance is meticulous and individualized, based upon Anthroposophical Medicine (please click here for its page in Portuguese), an enlargement upon conventional medicine. Focusing on illness as part of the individual biography, the curative process is regarded as an opportunity for self-development. In this context, health care encompasses not just nourishment and hygienics, but also education and culture. Women are accompanied through all phases of pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. Periodic campaigns provide information on basic notions of preventive care, family planning and carefulness with AIDS. Helping and complementing medical and dentistry assistance, the nursing staff teaches simple and inexpensive means of health care. In conjunction with a special committee, residents organize sanitation improvements and group work for the construction of support walls on hill slopes. In Horizonte Azul there is a vegetable garden, cultivated without pesticides, for the 3 nuclei, aiming at a balanced nutrition; this produce is used in the meals of all children covered by the various activities.
- Health education campaigns
- Clinical analysis
- Body and mouth hygienics
- Family planning and natural birth
- Pre-natal and post-natal
- Basic sanitation
- Clothes bazaar
- Education, culture, sport and recreation
- General practice
- Dental care (average of 120 people per month)
Cultural education - theater, dance, music and plastic arts - is done through giving incentive to committees of culture in the three nuclei. At Centro Cultural Monte Azul (Monte Azul Culture Center) residents put up their own performances and have access to shows, attractions, spectacles and concerts by great Brazilian and international artists, with about 8 to 10 offerings each month. A special sector is in charge of editing books. These activities aim at the integration of residents of the favelas with the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, and promote the interchange among various social organizations, schools and popular culture groups. Cultural activities cover:
- Theater groups (3)
- Dance groups (3)
- Adult and children chorales
- Instrumental bands
- Promotion of events, shows, theater, dance and music
- Lectures and debates
- Libraries (3)
- Editing books and study material
Education, health, housing, leisure: the needs of human beings are quite diversified and complex. ACOMA tries to shape the communities by making life become more harmonious, better to be lived. This is accomplished through the following organisms:
- Resident's committees: meet to discuss favela problems, group projects, parties, participation in popular movements and dealing with urbanization.
- Judicial assistance: this is a voluntary service, provided by lawyers who assist favela residents. They may provide orientation on legal questions.
- Committee for the promotion of interchange among communitarian movements and participation in national and foreign conferences and external meetings: this committee is composed of collaborators of different areas which promote the participation of ACOMA in initiatives of such sectors as health, education, culture and housing. It also promotes the interchange with other favela and communitarian movements, or Waldorf Education initiatives.
- Sanitation: Integrating the educational effort on health, a sanitation program was introduced which organizes group projects for cleaning, selective garbage collection and forestation of some areas.
- Recreation Club: formed by young residents of the favelas and of the adjacent neighborhood, it meets every Sunday afternoon to practice sports and organizing parties, movie sessions, tours, etc.
To promote an integration of all activities developed by ACOMA, guaranteeing that they fully serve the interests of the community, it is necessary to maintain constant contact among the various working groups, through dialogue and exchange of information and experiences.
In the General Meeting all collaborators volunteers participate, discussing ACOMA's and community problems. Themes of general interest are also discussed, contributing to the understanding of society at large, such as economy, politics, ecology, culture, and so on.
Two other kinds of meetings are held in a weekly basis, concerning goals and areas. The meeting on goals is composed of collaborators strongly committed to ACOMA and has a coordinating function. It defines solutions after having heard opinions collected during the meetings of each area such as health, education, administration, etc. Assessment of problems and planning of actions specific for each sector are made in the meetings by areas. Committees (on publishing, parties, nutrition, etc.) are composed of collaborators from different areas. Meetings by area and study days are organized on weekends, and have the purpose of improving the collaborators' performance at their activities. An "Integration Day" occurs nine times per year, when collaborators and volunteers meet to engage in activities leading to the development of creativity and integration: theater, dance, music, handicrafts, sports, biography, etc.
During the first years the work was supported solely by sporadic private donations. The first organization which regularly gave support to ACOMA was AMENCAR ("Amparo ao Menor Carente", "Support for the Destitute Child"). From 1981 on there has been an agreement with the city administration supporting some children aged 7-14. ACOMA counts presently upon the support of the following organizations:
Agreement with the city administration, for the majority of children aged 0-14.
Agreement with AMENCAR and Abrinq (Association of Producers of Playthings) Foundation.
Agreement with SENAI ("National Industries Service") for the basic professional courses.
Contributions by ACOMA members.
Contributions from some enterprises and institutions, as well as from the Associação Tobias (Tobias Association).
"Godparents" and benefactors in Brazil and Europe.
Support from international organizations for specific projects.
Donations may be made by way of deposit to Banco Itaú, branch 192 ("Borba Gato"), account 26329-1. Checks may be sent directly to the address at the beginning of this page.
Selling of products from the various workshops such as cabinetmaking, weaving, dolls, etc. and from the bakery, at the favela store: Rua Vitalina Grassman, 290, tel. (011)-542-2426 (from abroad: +55-11-542-2426).
1987 (Germany's Merit Cross)
Itaú-Unicef Prize, 1995 (citation)
Incentive to Culture, 1995 (City of São Paulo)
Fraternity Prize of Legião da Boa Vontade ("Goodwill Legion"), 1996
Good Efficiency Prize (Kanitz Foundation, Brazil), 1997
Pestalozzi Prize (Pestalozzi Foundation, Germany), 1997
Coca-Cola Prize: Youth Theater (special category), 1998
"Action Child" Prize, Brazilian Federal Government, 1998
Ashoka Prize for Innovative Ideas, Brazil 1998
"Child Prize", ABRINQ (Association of Palytoys Producers), Brazil 1998
Paul-Harris-Fellow Prize (Rotary Club)
(All in Portuguese if not noted otherwise)
L. Criança Querida: Dia-a-Dia da Alfabetização [Beloved Child: Day-to-Day
of Reading and Writing Instruction]. ACOMA, São Paulo1994.
Bolhinha de Sabão (Livro Infantil) [The Little Soap Bubble, children's book]. ACOMA, São Paulo1996.
Craemer,U. Questão Social [The Social Question]. ACOMA, São Paulo1988.
Craemer,U. Crianças Entre Luz e Sombras [Children Between Light and Darkness]. ACOMA, São Paulo1990.
Craemer,U. Girassol [Livro infantil, em quatro línguas] (Sunflower, Children's Book in 4 Languages), 1990.
Craemer,U. Favela-Kinder [Favela Children, in German]. Verlag Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1980. You may read a done by Frank Thomas Smith, at the site of his electronic magazine "Southern Cross Review". Please click for the following parts: 1, 2, 3, 4. The whole book is now available in electronic form, from www.mightywords.com (to locate it, use its search engine giving "favela children").
Craemer,U. Favela Monte Azul [In German]. Verlag Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 1987.
Keller, R.J. Criança Querida: Dia-a-Dia na Creche [Beloved Child: Day-to-Day at the Nursery]. ACOMA, São Paulo1994
Onuki, Daisuke. Hear Well - The Históry of the Favela and its Work (in Japanese). Honnuki Inc, Tokyo 1989.
Poemas para Crianças e Educadores [Poems for Children and Educators. ACOMA, São Paulo 1994.
Zoriki, M. Coletânea de Músicas Juninas [A Collection of Tunes for the Brazilian Winter Festivals]. Ed. Antroposófica, São Paulo 1996.
Blaich, M., Pinto, E.F., Craemer,
U. Medicina para quem? [Medicine for Whom?]1988.
Campos, J.M. Leite Materno [Mother's Milk].1995.
Floride, Athys. O Homem e o Espírito dos Povos [Man and the Folkspirit]. 1998.
Hartman, O. Antroposofia - um Esboço [Anthroposophy - a Sketch]. 1995.
Schmidt, B. Marionetes e Bonecos - Manual para Teatrinhos [Marionettes and Puppets - a Manual for Little Theaters]. 1995.
Steiner, R. Os Mistérios do México [The Mysteries of Mexico].
Various authors. À Procura da Alma do Povo [In the Search of the Folkspirit]. 1996.
Various authors. Sexualidade [Sexuality]. 1995.
Various authors. AIDS. 1995.
To see a picture of the nursery, please click here.
To see a picture of the carpentry with playthings produced there, please click here.
Translated and maintained by V.W.Setzer firstname.lastname@example.org
Last modified May 10, 2000.
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