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Angela's tears - A presentation on the São Paulo RJ projects in Rio de Janeiro

Oct 13, 2009

From the post at the Restorative Circles Blog

Yesterday was the first formal presentation of the São Paulo RJ project, 'Justiça e educação', to the justice and education communities in Rio de Janeiro. Most of those who have made these projects possible - in São Caetano do Sul, in Guarulhos, in Heliopolis, in Campinas and elsewhere - spoke, and even though the city was under the second day of torrential rain and it was the friday before a holiday weekend, there wasn't a free seat and many stood until the end.

...what struck me most were the talks of two school teachers. The newspaper this morning reminds us that more than half of Brazilian families live on less than US$5 a day. Many have far less. The schools these two teachers work in serve such communities - one in São Paulo city's largest favela, one on the semi-rural outskirts of Guarulhos, the second largest city in SP state. As Edivaldo, the first to speak, said quite simply: "Restorative Circles have changed my school. We might think of giving up other projects we have, but never this one. We do a lot of Circles, and from this you might think 'Oh, they have a lot of fights at the school', but no - we do a lot of Circles because the school has learnt that this is the way to have conflicts. So we stop violence. We bring it the Circle and then it's done."

Angela, who spoke next, told her story with RC. 19 years a sports teacher, she described the amazement of her colleagues when she said she wanted to train as a facilitator. They thought of her as a 'take no prisoners' teacher and she agreed. What changed her round, she said, was a semi-simulated Circle she participated in, during an initial presentation at her school. She played the mother of a student, bullied by colleagues, and was relishing the verbal combat the real life scenario gave her. After listening to those who'd taunted 'her' child she was ready to charge in, when the facilitator asked her to reflect back the essence of what she'd heard them say. The experience, she said, stopped her completely in her tracks. "I was ready to let them have it, but when I heard those words a space opened up, and into it I could see a whole other way of us being together in that situation. It changed me. It changed me as a person - I was different at home, I was different at school. I applied to go back to university, to study Restorative Justice. And I began to facilitate Circles."


Read the full article.

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