BRAZIL: Salesian student with focus on literacy aims to create a library for his community
(MissionNewswire) Jeferson Gabriel Ferreira, a 13-year-old student of the Salesian Institute São Gonçalo, is now a finalist for the Good Example Award. The award is a prize offered in the state of Mato Grosso, and promoted by TV “Centro América,” an affiliate of the “Rede Globe” of Cuiabá. The award highlights and acknowledges positive individual initiatives that help to improve society. Ferreira is committed to creating a library for the community in Várzea Grande all by himself. The initiative is the result of his love of books and the absence of a library in that area.
Two Salesian graduates have already won the award for their work in the community. During a TV interview, Ferreira noted that the idea came to him to start a library when he started collecting books from house to house. He ended up with a collection of more than 6,000 books and wanted to be able to share them with others in his community.
“I want to be of help to all,” said Ferreira in the interview. “Reading can make people’s lives better. If you read a book your mind is more open and joy arrives.”
The TV report dedicated to Ferreira also showed his daily life in school and included interviews with his teachers and educators who commented on the student’s qualities and the importance of his initiative. “Each book is a precious source of information. Jeferson’s desire is to spread information and thus to gradually improve society, improve the world, and this has made us profoundly happy,” said Salesian Father Paulo Vendrame, the school’s headmaster.
Salesian missionaries across Brazil and around the globe focus on education, social programs, and workforce development services to help poor youth gain an education and the skills for long-term employment. The goal is to help them break the cycle of poverty and become contributing members of their community. Ferreira’s focus on literacy and working to build a library in his community is an example of the positive education values instilled in him by his Salesian education.
In another Salesian program in Mato Grosso, Don Bosco City aims to keep youth off the streets after school by providing them a space where they are fed, supervised and kept safe until evening when a parent or grandparent is able to watch them at home. In its 56-year history, Don Bosco City has worked with close to 30,000 youth providing training and education.
Every day nearly 3,000 youth receive education and training services at Don Bosco City. There are about 2,000 students attending the primary and middle schools and 500 students enrolled in vocational training. Another 300 or more youth participate in the social welfare services offered and the Happy Youngsters Project. At the end of their studies, students often receive ongoing academic support throughout their time at university, and if needed, family assistance after that. A very strong bond is created between the Salesian-run program’s staff and the youth it serves.
Nearly one fourth of Brazilians live in poverty and 6.6 percent live in extreme poverty, according to a 2008 UNESCO report. While Brazil is making positive changes, there is still a large gap between the poor and the rich.
Salesian Missions – Brazil