14.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Project in Sol Nascente community (Brasilia) seeks to lift the self-esteem of young mothers

© UNESCO\Nelson Muchagata

Art teacher develops proposal after becoming a mother at 21

Becoming a mother at an early age herself and having contact with the poor children of Sol Nascente, in Ceilandia (Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil) awakened in art teacher, Thábata Lorena, 24, the urge to help prepare young mothers to face the challenge of educating their children in a positive way. Thábata decided to combine her experience as an educator, singer and actress to create a project to set up conversation groups and artistic activities with the young women of this community. She ended up being selected as an agent for the Youth Expression Programme (Programa Jovem de Expressão) to develop the proposal.
The project commenced in April, on Tuesdays at the primary school in Sector P North (Ceilandia). Through her activities, the Expression Agent aims to get young women to reflect on their role in society - as women, mothers and teachers - and so to encourage a sense of self-worth and self-help that will be reflected in the relationship with their children.

"The challenge is for them to realize that by educating their children in a harmonious environment, they are contributing to the development of adults prepared to face life's challenges," explains Thábata. The idea that each of them has a mission "to cultivate citizens committed to the maintenance of a more just society" will also be encouraged through these groups.

How the proposal arose

Thábata Lorena was a 21 year-old actress, singer and songwriter when she became pregnant. She had left her mother's house and was sharing a house with a friend, also an artist. The baby's father, her boyfriend at the time, was a 22 year-old stage actor. They decided to live together. "But we were very young and it didn’t work," she says. Since then Thabata has had to manage the responsibilities of a single mother, balancing her time between work, household chores and motherhood.

In 2011, she began working as an art teacher at the P Sector North Primary School, in the community of Sol Nascente (Ceilandia). Thábata observed that the students had behavioural problems and low self-esteem. In talking with the children's mothers, she came across stories of broken families and young women feeling helpless and impotent and unprepared for motherhood.

The experience gave her a better understanding of the importance of the role of women - little recognized by the women themselves - in maintaining harmony in the home. The desire to develop a project to provide support to young mothers took root in the art teacher, until the opportunity arose to have her proposal subsidized by the Youth Expression Programme.

Expression Agents

Besides Thábata, six other young women residents of Ceilandia and Sobradinho II (another community in Brasilia) were selected as agents for the Youth Expression Programme in February 2013. They act as community mobilizers and local representatives of the programme and go through a training process directed at promoting autonomy and entrepreneurship among young people.

Each agent has a project with different activities: in Ceilandia, besides the work with mothers, skateboard workshops and support for bands and music promotion will also be offered.

In Sobradinho II, there are projects promoting youth entrepreneurship by means of workshops and events:

  • to unite and coordinate various groups working with elements of hip hop (graffiti, break and rap);
  • to provide dance and theatre workshops – along the lines of "The Theatre of the Oppressed" (Teatro do Oprimido) - in the Fercal region.

Youth Expression is a social programme created by the Caixa Seguros Group in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Office in Brazil (UNESCO Office in Brazil) and the Central Única das Favelas (Cufa/DF), which aims to promote health for young people between 18 and 29 years, to reduce their exposure to violence and to support entrepreneurial activities.
Contact for the Press:
Paula Crepaldi
Communications Consultant UNESCO in Brazil / Programa Jovem de Expressão (Youth Expression Programme)
Tel.: (+55) 61 9363-3332/ 9123-5385

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