The Project: la Casa de Ensaio
In Campo Grande (Mato Grosso do Sul), SONIA has been supporting the Casa de Ensaio, that works with ex-street children and with youth from very poor families. A certificate of school attendance is a prerequisite for admission to the centre. In the first three years of its partnership with Casa de Ensaio, SONIA provided scholarships to seven young people amongst the most promising to support a one year special crash course to allow them to pass their entrance exams to the public University. All of them were admitted to the University. These results are excellent, the average for the country being at around 35 to 40%. Since 2007 SONIA has started a new initiative with the Casa de Ensaio. In order to respond to an increased demand for the type of education it provides, this institution rented new premises and increased the number of students it receives each year; in addition, rather than providing courses only over the week end, it started a more intensive programme. Consequently, it requested SONIA to finance the programme “Abrindo Portas” (Opening Window of Opportunities), which consists of providing scholarships to 10 volunteers (monitors and interns) and provides minimal salary complements for the young volunteer teachers, who are also ex-students of the centre. These young people created a Home Theatre Troupe within the Centre in order to improve their acting skills and develope an interesting and varied repertoire. In 2010, some of these volunteers joined in the management of the centre.
During 2011 SONIA continued to support the programme “Abrindo Portas” (Opening Windows of Opportunities), by financing scholarships for 10 volunteers (monitors and interns) and providing minimal salary complements for the young volunteer teachers. Moreover some volunteers took charge of the social aspects of the Itaú Prize, participated in two festivals on Art and Education in Salvador and in a national meeting on culture and children. Additional results have been achieved throughout 2012, such as the increase in enrollment, which rose to 120, and the inclusion of the parents to join their children in theatre performances to allow a stronger cohesion among family members. Moreover, towards the end of 2012 the centre moved to its new premises, allowing for a realization of the founders’ dream to have a centre of their own.