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Prevention As The Key to Community Work

Children playing in the Coque Community, located on Joana Bezerra Island - Recife/Pernambuco

The Coque Community, located on Joana Bezerra Island - Recife/Pernambuco, is often featured in local news due to its high violence rates. A quick internet search reveals news about gang arrests, shootouts, and homicides in the area.

It is against this reality that Happy Child International and the Ammar Transforma Project strive to make a difference. One of the projects it collaboartes with is providing educational support, especially as in 2019 the Political Administrative Region 1 - where the Joana Bezerra neighborhood is located - reported that 1.3% of children aged 6 to 13 were out of school. Although the percentage seems low, UNICEF indicates that this figure is above average compared to the population index of the area (unicef brazil 2017-2020/platform on urban centres)

Volunteer teacher Vanessa says, "This educational support work is very important because it teaches children from an early age about the importance of learning." The project serves 36 children aged 6 to 12, with sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons.

Currently, Coque has two state primary schools, one of which is the Coque Municipal School, serving 620 children. The school principal Grijalba emphasizes the importance of educational support "Most cases of students who manage to keep up with the school curriculum and achieve good grades are those who receive educational support," She also notes, "All free educational support is welcome; the community is very vulnerable, and some parents/ guardians can't even read or write themselves, so how can they teach a child?"

Teacher Vanessa also highlights the importance of support for autistic children, commenting, "We also support autistic children; we currently have four students with this diagnosis. It’s a significant support that we provide, as other porgrammes do not always offer the necessary attention for this student group." A 2022 study indicated that the performance gap between students without disabilities and those with disabilities is as high as 54.18%. ( april 2024)

One of the children being accompanied is Paula, the eldest daughter of Wanderlane. The mother shares, "Paulinha is six years old and started attending the classes at the end of February this year. It was a joy to get her a place. My daughter has suffered a lot; at her previous school, she was verbally abused by teachers who said she had nothing, just laziness. Until one day, I managed to complete the investigation, and the report confirmed her level 2 autism." Mrs. Wanderlane has noticed an improvement in her daughter’s concentration and memory since she regularly started attending the classes.

The patron of Brazilian education, Paulo Freire, says, "Education does not transform the world. Education changes people, and people transform the world." The educational support classes offered impact each child's life. They gain the strength to never drop out of school and avoid becoming part of the violence statistics. They learn to dream of a better future, a future that only education can provide. They practice inclusion and love for others by living with those who are different. And deep down, we know that they will transform the world.

  • Written by Eduarda Teixeira

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