Social ventures are often at the heart of the world’s most innovative education initiatives, and behind them are often social entrepreneurs driven by a desire to make a positive impact on society.
This week we take an in depth look at Brazil where social conditions are amongst the harshest in the world – in the big cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo it has been estimated that a third of people live in slums.
In Rio we met Rodrigo Baggio who is spearheading efforts to bridge the digital divide.
Next to a project in Sao Paulo which aims to turn the entire population – 11 million people – into teachers, so that everyone is educating each other and building better lives.
In Rio de Janeiro’s longest established Favela or shanty-town, Rodrigo Baggio has a dream. In 1993 he left a successful career in IT and two years later founded CDI – an NGO making IT available to the world’s poorest people – not just in Brazil but all over the developing world.
Wanderson Skrock, 21, spent years dealing drugs and in and out of prison. Now he is a youth worker at CDI. He said: “The first time I went into a computer suite, I thought: ‘I’m a drugs dealers, I don’t need computers, I’m not going to sell drugs over the internet!’ But then the CDI teacher showed me how I could change my life and he said you know what, if you don’t learn something and change your life, you’re going to die.”
For more information see www.dld-conference.com/2010/03/rodrigo-baggio-1.php
In Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paolo, living in anonymity can be an inevitable fact of life, but the Barrio Escola movement is trying to change that. This innovative action-based programme is getting people involved at all levels mobilising them to create a network between schools and local neighbourhoods.
Sao Paulo is home to more than 11 million people – and the Aprendiz Project was founded in 1997 with the aim of turning slum quarters into learning centres but encouraging interaction between schools and local people.
Helena Singer, a teaching director at the Aprendiz Project said: “The aim of Aprendiz is to promote networks. The local area can be a teacher, because all local areas have something to teach. Young people learn all the time, at school, in the street, at home, wherever they find themselves – and once people in a local area realise that fact, we start to think about proposing education.”
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