“My motherland is my language,” said Bernardo Suarez. The description of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, in his “Livro do Desassossego”, expresses a feeling directly related to language.
And what is the weight of understanding and comprehension from a given language? A language carries with it aspects of the nation such as history and culture and has a fundamental impact on the way people live and interact.
It looked at the issues that Daniel Eura and Rocio Quispe, employees of the IFSP (Federal Institute of Sao Paulo) created the PertenSer project. With this spelling, apparently “wrong”, the message is welcome
The main purpose of this initiative is to work with the intercultural community with the immigrants living in the vicinity of the organization. Located in Canindé, Sওo Paulo (SP), near IFSP Praka Kantuta, a place of coexistence and socialization for the Bolivian community and a good place to work on the issues raised by the project.
The international migrant population has increased in recent years. There are currently more than 1.3 million immigrants living in Brazil. Between 2011 and 2020, most of these people came from Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti, Colombia and the United States, according to OBMigra (Observatory of International Migration).
In partnership with the collective “C, Yo Puedo”, formed by volunteers of various nationalities, including Rocio, who is a Bolivian, a partner. It started with the idea of helping Bolivian children learn Portuguese, explained Selma Regina Ola, one of the coordinators of the project. Within a short time, the team realized that this type of learning difficulty was found in non-immigrant Brazilian children.
Based on this perception, the combination has restructured the project to work on interculturalism – which in general, when two or more cultures are related to each other, without an unbalanced relationship between them, that is, without culture overlap.
In addition to the conversation circles on the IFSP campus, the project includes visits to museums around the city, such as the Migrant Museum, the Portuguese Language Museum, and the Football Museum. These tours form part of the background to discuss localism and belonging. Before the outing, there are usually some basic activities that prepare the class for what they will find in the exhibition.
Since 2017, the project has helped 50 children between the ages of 9 and 12 from different nationalities in Latin America, especially Bolivia.
While thinking about language to reinforce their own feelings as a subject working on this project, Selma mentioned that there is usually a language ideology that is reproduced even in school. The idea is that there is a cultured language that does not consider the constructions made by the immigrant population.
“It is interesting to note that there are several Portuguese languages. You have the language of your community, your surroundings, your social class, your age group (…) We are multifaceted, but it is conditional to believe that we speak a single language, “said Selma.
Educators point out the importance of language evaluation because, many times, families themselves do not encourage their children to speak their local language because they believe that they are not socially accepted or considered “useful” for them. Possible social insertion or even more forward thinking, in the world of work.
Helena Kamargo, who is also the project coordinator, noted that there was a need to work with children, even if they were immigrants and had an idea that they understood their own community.
When we said: “Anyone born in another country and decided to live here is an immigrant”, and then they started [perguntar]: “My father was born in Bolivia and moved here, so is he an immigrant?” Or “I too was born in Bolivia and came here as a child, am I an immigrant?” And we have always insisted that we are all equal citizens no matter where we are born, “said Helena.
Academics have commented that there are also concerns about the harassment experienced by Andean children at school. By educating them a little more about the importance and perception of Andean culture, they aim to strengthen a positive outlook on themselves and encourage group formation that helps protect them from bullying situations.
In addition to the coordination team, the project opens the door for the Institute’s undergraduate students to receive grants for working directly with children and working on the program. Selma explains that there are training and preparation meetings so that students have as much information as possible before starting work with children.
“We have a constructive meeting, always paying more attention to the issues of colonialism and interculturalism. Then we prepare educational materials for the Saturday workshop with the children, ”explained Selma.
The teaching materials designed by the team range from literary literacy, Andean stories and tales to the experience of a shaman.
Selma says the preparation of fellows through weekly meetings is underway.
It is not uncommon for undergraduate students to approach this teaching bias, although it can make all the difference in the long-term teaching career.
Helena believes that themes related to immigration are increasingly appearing in life and in the Brazilian context, and therefore, it is important to approach topics that are already undergraduate when considering anti-apartheid education.
“It simply came to our notice then [num futuro próximo] And it is important for them to be aware of these linguistic and cultural differences in order to be able to welcome them, “said Helena.
PertenSer project activities take place on Saturday morning at IFSP. No date has yet been set for the start of the project in 2022.
Learn more about the project