Two researchers from the University of Minho have spent almost 30 years – 12 of them in Portugal – challenging children to talk about their rights and express their feelings and views on children’s citizenship and the environment. The project of Grecia Rodriguez and Leonardo de Albuquerque is called “Soy Niño, Sou Criança” and has already traveled the world. A prominent face of the work is the exhibition “Janelas de Luz para a Infância”, which in recent years passes through several places in the country and is until June 17 in the tourist center Ponte da Barca, Viana do Castello.
The posters carry various reflections and works of art of the little ones. “Why would we play at school if we won’t even play with friends because of a cell phone?“Says Maria Masiel, 8 years old. “We all need to learn that the Earth is not a garbage can“Says Sara Araujo, also 8 years old. The exhibition focuses on the work done this school year by 91 children from the 3rd year of Ponte da Barca. The initiative is supported by the municipality, the local school group and the Cultura para Todos program.
“The exhibition emphasizes children as full-fledged human beings, all in a free, cooperative, affectionate, respectful and multicultural context.“, Emphasize Greece Rodriguez and Leonardo de Albuquerque, who are PhD students in sociology of childhood and members of the Uminho Children’s Research Center. “In fact, we are simply a channel that gives visibility to children’s wisdom and knowledge, that stimulates their commitment and empathy for others, and that makes them active communicators.“They added.
From Venezuela to the world
The children’s communication network “Soy Niño, Sou Criança” includes trainings, seminars, media materials and exchange. This non-governmental organization made its first steps in 1993 in children’s radio programs broadcast by the Emissora Cultural de Caracas on Rádio Nacional and Rádio Fé y Alegria (Venezuela), and grew from Canada to Greece. He has hosted trainings from UNESCO, Radio Nederland, Deutsche Welle, Radio France International and established partnerships with organizations such as UNICEF, American Field Service and MultiRio. The project won the National Prize for Journalism in Venezuela and the Seeds of Science in Portugal.
The relationship with Portugal emerged in 2007, supported by the Centro Cultural de Belém and choreographer Madalena Vitorino. In 2009, the documentary “Morcegos” by “Soy Niño, Sou Criança” and the environmental association ACOANA won the Best Animation Award at the Challenges Festival in Braga. In 2012, Soy Niño, Sou Criança launched the monthly page Conversas Gigantes in the Diário do Minho newspaper, in addition to a set of protocols with municipalities and other entities.
“As the end results of our doctoral degree in children’s research at Uminho, we want to contribute to the consolidation of this project with a long history. We are talking about the creation of the Intercultural Center for Education, the Environment and Children’s Citizenship “Soy Niño, Sou Criança” and we want to invite more children to participate as people and citizens“, Commented Grecia Rodriguez. „P.we intend to offer these educational services in order to develop an understanding of nature and the environment as living and dynamic systems and as a valuable heritage for protection“, Added Leonardo de Albuquerque.