Alternative Culture Centre
|Predecessor||Project Education and Citizenship|
|Purpose||Enhancement of educational opportunities for the poor|
|Metro Belém, Brazil|
|Belgian Jesuit "Father Freddy"|
Alternative Culture Centre (CAC) is an outreach program founded by the Jesuits in Belém, Brazil. It seeks to broaden the educational opportunities of impoverished children through a rigorous tutoring program and cultural experiences.
CAC is not a school but rather amplifies the educational opportunities of school children, through adolescence. It offers free supplemental study and various activities to supplement the students' formal education. The program utilizes resources and volunteers from the communities it serves. By 2014 it was serving 600 children in the metro Belem area, including the municipalities of Anantapur and Barcarena.
The program offers school supplies for all students; teaching supplies for volunteer monitors; additional supplies the community may not be able to afford (tables, desks, water cooler, fans); lunch for all students; pedagogical supervision two or three times weekly; monthly pedagogical training for volunteer monitors; cultural tours and activities throughout the year; psychological support; parties and presents on special days; and supplemental food for students' families. The communities are expected to provide an appropriate, secure location; at least one volunteer for each 12 students; and volunteer mothers to cook the meals.
In the 1980s the Belgian Jesuit "Father Freddy" was at Lourdes Chapel serving university students in a suburb of Belém. He initiated an outreach to those living on the periphery, calling it Project Education and Citizenship (PEC). With the cooperation of community leaders, especially among Catholics, cultural activities were added to its program, and thus its present name. But it remains a non-sectarian, non-proselytizing service. In 2015 CAC was looking to partner with new communities, increasing its coverage to at least 700 children, and has added a social worker and an art educator to its staff.
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