In Coroado on the outskirts of the capital of the State of Amazonas, the wall that separates and protects the centre from the harsh realities of violence and drugs that consume the neighborhood, had begun to deteriorate because of recent rains.
Begun in the early 1990s through the efforts of some people from the Focolare Movement, the centre began its work in favour of social inclusion, with a nursery and primary school, but soon turned into a real social agency that was open morning until night. It was begun as an attempt to ensure children and adolescents of the area the right to a harmonious and wholesome development, through educational and recreational activities and support for their families. It is financially supoorted by the generosity of so many people, especially by distance support from the New Families Non Profit Organisation which, in addition to education also provides nutrition and preventive medical care.
Several activities followed, such as a study in collaboration with the School of Educational Psychology at the Federal University of Amazonas to identify and overcome the learning problems of some of the young people. There was also also a project carried out and presented by the Pharmacy students to provide the children and their families with a basic knowledge of hygiene, nutrition and personal care. The School of Pharmacy did research project on infectious diseases with blood samples, and provided treatments. There are drug prevention programmes and programmes that combat child labour while parents are offered vocational training courses in collaboration with the Centre of Technology Education of the State of Amazonas.
Jeanne and Carlos who work full time for the project recount: “Over the years we came up with Literature and Theatre workshops. We also managed to come up with a programme on emotions and sexuality for teenagers and young adults.”
The latest win was described by Janine and Carlos: “The economic crisis is making the situation of our country more and more difficult. For example, one institution that offered a computer course for more than ten years, had to stop collaborating with us. Some of the children’s parents are losing their jobs. And the financial resources for repairing our protective wall that had assumed a gloomy and even threatening appearance often defaced by vandals, were just not available. Then we had the idea of appealing to the Manaus Court of Justice and proposing a partnership called “Let’s paint the wall.” The proposal, which was subsequently passed, would portray in images the experience and the values that we live with the children at the Social Centre and to give an air of joy and harmony to our neighborhood. We wanted the boys and girls to be engaged in this project, so we collected their drawings so that they could be reproduced on the wall.”
The newly restored and painted wall was unvieled on October 27th. “It was a very joful event for us,” say Janine and Carlos, “because this recognition from the Court of Justice not only comforts the centre and its efforts, but it allows us to bring ahead the project in the best way we can. We especially thank the many people who generously support us in giving the boys and girls the opportunity to gain knowledge and training that will allow them to take their life in their own hands and become new women and new men.”