Global Exchange Community Change Garden

Eric Olsen
April 23, 2014

By the next harvest season, the students at Joaquim Camara Filho School can look forward to fresh, crispy veggies from the garden in their courtyard. The Global Exchange Community Change (GE-CC) Program in Goiás Brazil is unfolding plans for a community garden at the school that promises a sustainable food source as well as education for students and the community. The garden hopes to create a culture of healthy food and lifestyle choices.  

Top: Visiting the school vegetable garden at Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) and Global Exchange-Community Change (GE-CC) partner school “Escola Municipal Bom Jesus” in the “Nuovo Mundo” district. Bottom: Four fruit trees donated for the environmental project at “Joaquim Câmara Filho”.

Global Peace Foundation’s Global Exchange Community Change (GE-CC) Project has been bringing new vitality to the Joaquim Camara Filho School community since it launched last winter. The school has become a pilot for the Global Peace Foundation’s education initiative, Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI). A partnership with AISEC has brought in a new group of international student volunteers to serve the school every six months. According to president of Global Peace Foundation-Brazil Massimo Trombin, “This is a step by step project. We want to make a positive transformation in the community over the next three years.”

The community garden is the next phase of the program. The garden will be a source of healthy food options and a way to engage the students in hands-on science and geography lessons. It will also be the centerpiece for education to parents about healthy eating habits.  

The project has become a natural hub for building community relations. The garden is being made possible through partnerships between GPF-Brazil, Goyazes state’s environmental agency (EMATER), the Institut Brookfield, Instituto Terra Goyazes and volunteers from the Global Exchange-Community Change, military police, students and community members.

EMATER is providing the technical support and classes to manage and upkeep the garden.  Insitut Brookfield is involved with the preparations and plants have been donated by Istituto Terra Goyazes. The GE-CC volunteers will set the garden up and work with the locals to maintain it.    

The Joaquim Camara Filho school community in Goiânia, Goiás has struggled with high levels of crime, drugs, vandalism and violence. The discord has affected student performance and motivation. According and article that appeared in Tribuna do Planalto, the school was selected by the Education Department Secretary through Política Articulada de Educação da Paz (Epaz), a supporter of the project. Global Exchange-Community Change is working with residents and community leaders to develop projects to transform the school and community culture and open new opportunities for the students and the community.

The partnerships are manifesting the projects with support through materials, expertise and training. But, the true beauty of GE-CC is the enthusiasm and supportfrom the community. The international students homestay with local families and volunteer at the school. Cléssio Pereira Bastos, the Portuguese teacher at Joaquim Camara Filho said, “This project envisioned by GPF has brought a wider vision to my students.” It is beautiful to see the students and families blossom from the global exposure and civic engagement. It will be exciting to watch the project develop into something enriching.

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