Brazil's First Lady Supports Literacy

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

Governments can effectively fight poverty with meager resources, said Brazil's first lady during an on-campus speech last night.

Dr. Ruth Cardoso, chair of the umbrella organization Comunidade Solidaria, said her community service organization promotes literacy by matching Brazilian companies and universities with highly illiterate rural villages.

"Brazil is indeed learning how to multiply resources and generate solidarity and prosperity for all," she said.

Cardoso, a visiting professor at the Center for Latin American Studies, currently teaches a graduate seminar on youth in Brazil.

She said she founded Comunidade Solidaria five years ago in an attempt to address sky-high unemployment rates and widespread illiteracy.

The program works by pairing each of the 180 universities with a rural village. Local village representatives stay at the university for one month and learn the skills necessary to educate their peers.

The government pays for university professors to travel to the villages every month to assess their progress, she said.

"Comunidade Solidaria demonstrates that students in Brazil are very moved towards social work," Cardoso said.

She said the program will strengthen Brazil's fledgling democracy and help overcome the country's history of dictatorship.

"We expect good results from the partnership with the universities," Cardoso said. "Fighting poverty and social exclusion is a huge and complex task. Comunidade Solidaria will give us fresh, more effective channels and dialogue."

She said Brazil's program proves that governments can be effective in fighting poverty.

Cardoso added that helping the country's youth is a top priority.

"Youth are vulnerable and exposed to drugs and crime," she said. "But youngsters have a tremendous desire to help improve their community."

She said the program has blossomed since its inception five years ago. It now helps 1,700 villages and more than 800,000 people, she added.

Cardoso, an anthropologist and a former professor at Brazil's University of Sao Paolo, also served as a visiting professor at UC Berkeley in 1981.

Harley Shaiken, who introduced Cardoso, said the first lady's accomplishments extend far beyond her intellectual achievements.

"Ruth Cardoso has blazed new trails in anthropology," said Shaiken, chair of the Center for Latin American Studies. "She's a public intellectual. She has a deep understanding and commitment to address poverty."

The first lady's speech was part of the Center for Latin American Studies' "Brazil 2000" series, which includes a conference later this month on Brazil's challenges in the future. Cardoso is expected to deliver the keynote address.

Joaquim Pose, a psychologist originally from Brazil, said he came to celebrate the country's history and to learn more about its first lady.

"I wanted to get a feeling of who (Cardoso) is," he said. "I also hoped to see a few friends I haven't seen in a long time."

The approximately 200 students attending the speech said they hoped to learn more about Brazil's contentious past and the way its government is working against poverty.

"I expect to get current information about what's happening in Latin America," said senior Rebecca Rodarte, a Chicano studies major, before Cardoso spoke. "It'll be interesting to see what she says."


Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
Image Campus graduate takes new first steps
UC Berkeley's graduation day this year was symbolic for graduate Austin Whi...Read More»
Image Regents rescind part of approval
The ongoing legal battle surrounding revisions to the building plans for th...Read More»
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space