Francisco Lima State College, São Gonçalo
Located in one of the most economically-deprived areas in the state of Rio de Janeiro - the Gradim neighbourhood of São Gonçalo – the college is known for being under-funded.
Students at the school face more pressures than most, and many have requested changes from management and government. Often these calls go unanswered, as was the case when students spoke up about an ever-growing garbage problem.
There is a lack of awareness surrounding garbage disposal in the neighbourhood, meaning that trash is often deposited outside homes, businesses and schools in the area. The trash often accumulates outside the school gates for days on end, which causes a huge disruption to the students who use these gates as a main access point to the school. Several campaigns have already been carried out to address this issue, but none have succeeded. This forced some of the students to take matters into their own hands.
NXplorers in Action
The 9th grade students decided to use the garbage issue as the central theme for their NXplorers project. They concluded that the most effective solution would be to look for a partner organisation to help them solve the issue and to conduct awareness campaigns aimed at the local community.
The students approached the non-profit organisation ECCOPonto (Education, Culture, Awareness and Guidance), a community project that is part of the 'Sustainable Favela Network'. Launched in 2017, they aim to recognise, support, strengthen and expand the sustainable qualities and community movements inherent in Rio de Janeiro's favelas.
Several meetings were held with students, teachers, the school board and ECCOPonto to establish the partnership. On November 19th, students held an event to present the results of their NXplorers project to their school community. As part of the event, there were informative talks, songs, poems, exhibitions, a trade fair, and 173 seedling and 80 eco-bags delivered and given out. You can watch some of the performances from the event here.
Image: seedlings delivery for revitalisation of spaces around the school
The 2020 ‘Zero Waste’ Challenge was also launched, committing all students in the school to reduce their waste generation and continue the actions initiated by the NXplorers project. The school is awaiting authorisation from the State Department of Education to set up a selective garbage collection point (or recycling facilities point) on the sidewalk, while ECCOPonto seeks financial sponsorship to make the project viable.
The challenge was accompanied by virtual flyers on social media and painted walls along the streets to mark a new beginning for the community.
Image: students celebrate at the final event
Image: The recycling bays that will be installed at the point where the population deposits the garbage
The entire community is aware that this is not a project that ends with the school year; this is just the beginning. The NXplorers students are prepared to continue the project and guide their peers in making the community cleaner and healthier for everyone. This project shows that small actions and big ideas can bring about important changes, and demonstrates the impact that NXplorers can have on communities around the world.
Image: students gathered at the end of the event
“O NXplorers me ajudou a ter uma nova visão, dentro e fora da escola. Consegui mudar minhas atitudes nas áreas abordadas pelo Projeto e consegui também sensibilizar toda a minha família. Com o Projeto NXplorers eu pude expor minhas opiniões e aumentar minhas habilidades de liderança. Consegui perceber que a gente pode dar nossa opinião e pode fazer a diferença.”
“NXplorers helped me gain a new vision, both inside and outside the school. I managed to change my attitudes in areas we covered in the project, and I was also able to engage my whole family. Through the NXplorers project, I was able to express my opinions and develop my leadership skills. I realised that through sharing our opinion we can bring about positive changes.” Student – CE Comendador Valentim dos Santos Diniz
“O NXplorers me ajudou a tomar consciência de problemas que nem sabia que existia.”
"NXplorers helped me become aware of problems that I didn't even know existed." Student – CIEP 449
“O NXplorers ajudou a melhorar o relacionamento entre as turmas da escola. Foi muito legal ver que os projetos estavam interligados e tivemos uma troca intensa entre os grupos, foi muito legal!”
“NXplorers helped to improve the relationship between our school's classes. It was really cool to see that the projects were interconnected, and we had an intense exchange between the groups, it was really cool!” Student – CIEP 449