Last January 31, the Alcides do Nascimento Community Library was born with the help of EVP and helpful people with strong beliefs in doing good.
In 2011 at the metro train, I met a former colleague of students activist movement. By talking about education, we came to the conclusion that we shared the same world-views about it: it had to change and we should start the change with our own city, Jaboatão dos Guararapes (12 miles away from Recife, Brazil). Soon after that, we started to meet other people who shared the same vision and that's how the Educationist Nucleus of Jaboatão was born. Our first project was to build a community library in the heart of the poorest region of the city.
We thought it would require only books and good will to make it happen. We were wrong, though. After 3 long years we were stuck in the same place far from the promised goal. In the meantime, I joined Liferay and EVP came to Latin America office. Then everything changed, as we'll see.
The library project changed the target its initially planned target location and we overcame the larger obstacle: the building where the library would be implemented was finally available, needing some minor adjustments. We decided to put its name Alcides do Nascimento Lins.
Alcides do Nascimento, a sad but inspiring history
Alcides was a young man whose single-mother worked collecting recyclables to make a family living for four children. He studied in public schools, which are generally known to have lower quality compared to private ones. In 2007, despite all adversities, he managed to be approved in one of the hardest admission tests in the Federal University of Pernambuco. He got the 1st place among public schools students. He entered the biomedicine school and was such a good student that he had been expected to be prized with a one-month stay in England to study. However, his dreams and her mother's were abruptly destroyed in February 5, 2010, when we was cowardly murdered. The murderer was in search of another person, but as he didn't find his target after asking Alcides where the target was, he killed Alcides with two shots in the presence of his mother, Miss Maria Luiza. Alcides was killed but his example will remain forever as the boy who believed that education could lead to opportunities to break a cycle of poverty, violence and lack of self-fulfillment in which so many families are inserted.
The real difficulties
When EVP started here in Latin America, I volunteered with Zeno Rocha to lead the efforts to make things happen according to the company's mission and vision. I knew I had to do it because I saw it was the BEST opportunity in my life until then. Our budget for the project was still short, however I asked Fernando Areias if I could ask the remaining employees that had not used their allowed grant amounts for the year to give part of that amount to our project. Areias was very positive, fortunately, and then we could finally finish the basic structural repair works. João Farias helped with the materials and service acquisitions and our janitress Miss Rosinete even took a day off to help us. In a week we worked like a month. I do not regret that. Neighbors were willing to help, providing tools, food, cold water, electricity and moral support. Then in January 31, we decided to show all the neighborhood what we were to do there. Pedro Cabral and Raissa Vasconcelos from our marketing team impressively helped produce a press release with text and photographs that was published in the most read newspaper of our state. I don't know how to thank these incredible guys.
The opening was simple, but awesome
We invited the local church's maracatu band called Tambores Gaditas to play in the opening. It was just beautiful and symbolic: the maracatu is a afro-brazilian rhythm sometimes stigmatized due to religious prejudice. But they were christians putting aside every difference to show us the beauty of the music without barriers.
Miss Maria Luiza, mother of the Alcides, was one of our guests for the opening and she told her touching history with such richness of details.
We also had a poetry, music and video performance by an artistic group of the city of Jaboatão dos Guararapes.
Employees from Liferay, people from the neighborhood, members of the Educationist Nucleus of Jaboatão, activists, religious leaders, volunteers and donors from other cities were all put together in that terrific day. This is community.
There are still things to do. I know that to build is the easier part and to give real life to the place will be challenging. What I feel, though, is that I'll not be alone in this endeavor for the further goal as well.