Brazil: In a small town in northeastern Brazil a social project takes care of to the poorest of the poor since 2002. Although the North East of Brazil is rich in cultural traditions, especially music, it lacks infrastructure, education and health care. Due to the growing gap between rich and poor, many people suffer in this area. The aim is for those people to one day be able to manage their lives in a dignified way. Therefore the initiative helps them to find their best possible path of life and tries to prepare them. The Fundação Pavel in Barão de Grajaú currently consists of 19 individual projects.
The Fundação Pavel is located in the state of Maranhão, the poorest of the 26 states of Brazil. In terms of size as large as Germany, 48% of the six million inhabitants live below the poverty line. Nowhere in Brazil there are more illiterates and more poverty. Far away from the city, the work of the Fundação Pavel is primarily preventative to avoid the migration to the slums of large cities and counteract the problem of children living in the streets.
Right there the Pavel family began building up a social project in 1992. The question arose: How can we alleviate poverty and actually work towards a better future? It all started with a small sewing room, where the first young girls were trained to later be able to make a living in this way. Soon, the initiative also began to distribute basic food and clothing to families in need. With the help of many donations, the project continued to grow slowly.
The Fundação Pavel now owns four properties in Barao de Grajaú with an area totalling 4750 square metres, on which they have erected quite a few buildings over the last years. The most recent addition in 2007 was a kindergarten and a nursery built with the help of the Friends of Waldorf Education and co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Fundação Pavel today offers kindergarten care, tutoring, a nursery program, computer courses for young people, electrician-courses, agricultural projects and the facility is also a focal point for people with an acute emergency. In the “Centro Cultural & Social”, cultural life pulsates in a 360 sq. meter multi-purpose hall. There, hundreds of children and young people participate in courses and performances such as dance, theater and music classes. The more the people are fostered in cultural activities and their creativity from early childhood onwards, the more it reduces the possibility of their ending up on the streets with all the problems such as alcohol, drugs, etc.
Another project of the Friends of Waldorf Education, which was approved by the BMZ in 2012 allows for improvements for disabled people and their families through therapy offerings. Under the guidance of trained teachers, these people with special needs learn how to perform simple handicraft work in an appropriate manner. To further improve the conditions and the well being of mothers, a washing place will be built giving those women the opportunity to earn a living. For this purpose, a workshop building and a washing area each with sanitary facilities, as well as a deep well to meet the project’s own water requirements are to be built. Our dedicated colleague Jürgen Bartzsch, will be accompanying the project on behalf of the Friends of Waldorf Education.