A Child's Garden of Peace

Childrens Garden of Peace
Children gather collard greens to take home for lunch

Illène Pevec began working in Brazil in 2001 to create permaculture gardens with economically challenged communities. The community garden run by the children in Santo Ângelo, RS (the state of Rio Grande do Sul) with adult help provides organically grown food and medicinal plants and teaches environmental responsibility within the neighborhood and beyond. Additionally micro-enterprise has sprouted in the hands of the women who make eco-fashion accessories from reused aluminum pull-tabs.

We helped a sewing project to begin in São Borja in 2005 that gives mothers in that community marketable skills and items to sell to generate income. Our documentary video production program under the direction of Myra Margolin with the Santo Ângelo teens generated 4 short documentaries that have appeared in film festivals around the world.Now you can link to them from this web page.
In A Child's Garden of Peace we stress the development of good communication skills: art, photography, writing, and video making so that the children gain confidence to express what they see and need in their community. To address environmental and other quality of life issues one must be able to articulate them.

The primary beneficiaries of this project are children and their families in Santo Angelo and Sào Borja, RS, Brazil.

A Child’s Garden of Peace 2010 update

Santo Angelo, RS.
— Two and a half years after beginning the women’s purse making cooperative that the women call Realizing Dreams (Realizando Sonhos), and the scholarship program, we have a steady progress in micro-enterprise and educational achievement for the children and adult scholarship recipients..

How it works! The women make purses, belts and other accessories from re-used aluminum pull tabs. We buy these for a fair-trade determined price and ship them to the US for sale. The sales price in the US for Alluminate Accessories is invested one half in more accessories and one half in community development work. The profits fund the scholarship program and children’s environmental education.

Carine is now completing her third year in a pedagogy university degree. Denise is in an adult high school completion program. (Tanti completed her high school program with a focus in elementary school teaching successfully in 2009 and has moved to a new town.) The two scholarship recipients, Carine and Denise, meet with the children three times per week to lead them in gardening, recycling and academic support-oriented activities such as writing, arts, toy making and math. The children keep a daily journal to develop their writing skills. They work with an adult leader to make the healthy snack daily with a focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. We provide the two adult educational scholarships and the women give their time to the children in return to develop a new generation with a sense of environmental and community responsibility.
The foods grown in the garden go into the children’s nutritious snacks during their activity time and also go home with them for family meals. We practice composting, but we have very little waste in this program except for the occasional fruit peels.

Sao Borja, the Teresa Verzeri Centro de Formação. The nuns and their secular teaching staff have used the seed money we provided for sewing machines for the women’s sewing coop to help develop a cooperative that trains revolving groups of women in sewing skills. They got a three year grant from HSBC to expand. They market cooperatively and two women have been able to quit their maid jobs to sew full time. The seed money for the children’s environmental education program developed gardens with each group of children served. Their program has been so successful they won a US$100,000 grant from the Itau grant in a national competition to spread their gardening education to families for the creation of home vegetable gardens. The program bought a school bus to take children to nearby nature reserves to do environmental clean ups and plantings, enabling the children to become true environmental ambassadors in the community.

Contact: Illene Pevec
Email: achildsgardenofpeace@gmail.com
A Child's Garden of Peace on YouTube:

See other videos about the people affected by CGP's gardens in Brazil on YouTube: