How can we combat the intolerance that plagues our country and devastates the whole world with frighteningly increasing numbers of hate crime? How do we create a culture of peace and dialogue within which diversity is welcomed? How ensure that human rights are respected and cherished?
There are many possible answers. Some argue for tougher laws; others think of criminalization as simply a device to promote incarceration. The fact is that whatever the chosen strategy, without education and culture it will be wasted energy.
It is worth remembering in this fight against intolerance that there are seventeen (17) United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, which include the provision of Quality Education for All. This goal involves all levels of education, from early childhood to adulthood, and aims to ensure that education is viable for all, without gender discrimination.
What is more, Goal 5 lies at the heart of current social debate: Gender Equality, aiming at the eradication of all forms of violence against girls and women.
Goal 10 addresses Reducing Inequalities. Here it is important to point out that reducing inequalities is not just about promoting better income distribution within nations or breaking the trade privileges of rich nations over poorer ones.
Inequality reduction also implies strengthening ties between the peoples who occupy the territories of our planet, whether native or immigrant. Xenophobia is a serious problem, one that causes violence and leads many people to find themselves marginalized and possessing fewer opportunities just because they originate from a different territory or ethnicity.
In line with these objectives, the Anne Frank Education Program developed by the Plataforma Brasil Institute, based on the Anne Frank House methodology, has gained a prominent profile worldwide through its work in Brazilian state and municipal schools.
All this effort to transform reality through education and culture, in which a leading role has been played by the young people of the Anne Frank Youth Networks in Cabreúva, Santos and Belo Horizonte, has led the country to be ranked third in number of activities carried out by participating nations over the years, superseded only by Holland and Germany.
Up until now, this year has seen the organization of 208 activities, including exhibitions, training sessions, workshops, events, dialogue cycles, encounters, lectures and cultural exchange, making Brazil one of the world’s foremost countries to promote Anne Frank activities in 2019, with a current five Hubs in various Brazilian cities and regions.
In Cabreúva, interior of São Paulo, where the first Brazilian Anne Frank Youth Network was born as part of the international Anne Frank Youth Network, this year’s activities included the exhibition Reading and Writing with Anne Frank which mobilized two municipal schools and the city library, getting pupils aged from 4 to 11 delving into Anne’s story and being empowered through reading and writing:
“The project stimulated students’ curiosity, respect and enthusiasm. It ignited in them an appetite for reading. They realized that there is prejudice in many places around us and that something needs to be done to make it change,” said Professor Maria Aparecida, who teaches Grade-3 children.
The outskirts of Santos, on the coast of São Paulo, found young people promoting reflection and motivating themselves, taking as starting point the exhibition Let Me Be Myself –The Story of the Life of Anne Frank at the Padre Bartolomeu de Gusmão state school. Here, 22 young monitors were trained to guide the entire school community through the exhibition panels, talking about prejudice and intolerance and how to deal with it.
This initiative proved so important for the students that a new and positive wave of action has swept through the school, opening up fresh perspectives for teachers and students alike. “This work at school was fundamental. Not only to reflect on such important issues as intolerance and prejudice – reflection which is so prevalent among young people – but to start an even larger movement that has changed how the school sees interdisciplinary proposals. This transforms the entire school community, making the school environment more creative and bustling, vibrant with youthful response and energy,” comments pedagogical coordinator Cleudinete Pimentel.
In Belo Horizonte, Anne Frank is more present than ever. Already more than thirty (30) schools have participated in (Anne Frank) activities. Workshops, dialogue cycles, exhibitions… in total over a hundred activities this year, to culminate in a major event in November, the Anne Frank Exhibition – Stories that Teach Values & Activity Cycle: History, Education and Holocaust, which will take place at the University of Minas Gerais.
The second half of this year also saw the launch of an initiative in São Bernardo do Campo, with travelling exhibitions at municipal schools, in addition to the partnership with the Anne Frank Present Program taking place in Piauí.
New Hubs are still being established, evidence that 2020 will be another year of great transformation in which Anne Frank’s legacy will inspire even more young people across the country.
See also photo albums on Flickr:
Follow our activities on social networks: