Katharina Balgavy

3.3  Projeto Ueré

BRA / 2008
The goal is to replace an empty mind with an open mind
Numbered Photographs, Silver Gelatin print on Aluminium
135 × 90cm

Projeto Ueré is based and located in the biggest complex of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, in Complexo da Maré. The school was founded by Yvonne Bezerra de Mello in 1993, when several street kids were shot by policemen in the historical Candelaria Massacre in downtown Rio. Kids which are living in devastating environments, surrounded by drug lords, gang crime, abuse and violence, get supported to achieve self-esteem with new teaching methodologies, learning and juggling various languages, dancing capoeira in between, studying mathematics, then counting in japanese, combined with acting school classes and computer courses in a varied methodology, in a holistic context of education. I met Luciana Martha and Yvonne De Mello, the Founders of the school, so I spent some time in Complexo da Maré to learn more about the teaching methodology. “It’s normal to arrive in a hail of bullets”, when the gangs are still up and fighting in the morning, a teacher told me. We had to leave before 3pm every day as the area becomes a hazard, too dangerous to stay in the hood after mid afternoon when the drug lords start to do business. The Uerê-Mello pedagogy became a public policy in Rio de Janeiro’s education system in 2009, qualifying teachers from over 150 schools, which are based in conflicted areas. Today, the Brazilian government is adapting the learning and teaching method in the whole country.

The goal is to replace an empty mind with an open mind  
European Month of Photography, Vienna, AT
10 October 2010 — 29 November 2010
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