The miracles of Felipe Ferreira

It is hard to recognize a miracle when you are in it, that’s where Felipe Ferreira started talking. A resident of Aldeia, in Guarujá, he is GSA 2014.

To know that a Miracle surrounds us, we need to train our eyes to look for the little signs coming from all sides. To be open to the impossible, before our very eyes. In Felipe’s case, the first encounter was when he was young: a great passion for fighting. Years later, it was this love that delivered into his hands a tool to transform his neighborhood: Jiu Jitsu. It was with her that Felipe started working with children, building the New Dreams Institute. But a good story is one with many small miracles along the way, like this one.

“I was getting ready to bury Hendrick, a son I lost a few days after he was born, in a moment of great pain. When a partner called me to solve some problems”. Back then Felipe did many things, not all of which he is proud of today. At the age of 20, life was a whirlwind of emotions and paths. “I explained that I couldn’t go, he went alone. Then I learned that he was shot six times. He’s in a wheelchair. That moved me.”

After a few days, the same story. With another friend. More and more noises of gunshots, the painful news of a departure that plunged him into a depression that remembers every detail, so long afterwards. Then came a light. Light is one of the manifestations of miracle:

“Kinho said he didn’t want to go back to the wrong life anymore, that he would only leave work when he died.” Felipe thought a lot about who offers opportunities to those who want to transform themselves, he didn’t see many such opportunities around. He left his job, invited his old company to be the first partner of New Dreams, she accepted. That’s how the classes started. We only exist with others.

A lot has happened in the last 10 years, the time the institute has been alive. Along the way, Felipe has clung to the utopia of a world radically better than today to get through the most difficult days. And they were not few. 2020 was the highest place of discouragement, of a personal belief that he was doing it all wrong somehow: he felt alone, with a giant responsibility on his back that he couldn’t carry alone; without many ideas of how to go forward. It was the beginning of the greatest pandemic of the 21st century, COVID-19. The community would need Felipe, but Felipe needed himself. To find himself again. The hyenas entered the story.

“The hyena is the slum of the Savannah, have you ever stopped to think about it?”. I had never thought about it, and he continues: “When they are together, they make a lot of noise. They stand out because they always walk in packs, making a mess wherever they go. They do everything collectively, never abandoning a companion. Felipe was at home one day, mixed up in the discouragement above, when he heard a voice asking him: research more about them. And there he went to study the archetype, he kept it when he came out on the other side of the studies: “How amazing an animal that thinks so much of each other. And here I am, wanting to be the hero of my community.” He tattooed a hyena on his arm, never to forget: none of us is more important than all of us together. The “We for We” Pedagogy was born this way.

Everyone in the world knows something. We go through life like this, using these little talents we have, pulling them out of our pockets day after day: how to drive a nail here, how to sew a curtain there, the right way to paint the wall so it doesn’t get stained. Or, the most careful way to attend to a person and help them solve a problem. Talent is everything we put into play. This is the principle of his pedagogy: to build a community of people who exchange what they know for what they need.

It works like a Talent Bank, open to all residents of the Village. They offer something they know how to do to the New Dreams Institute – it can be taking care of the reception for three hours a day, or painting the facade that needs a hand – and in exchange, the organization maps out the needs of each person, runs around the world to ask for: a basket of basic food items, a hygiene kit. Change is hard, Felipe said. He explained many, many times that it was necessary to transform the way people looked at New Dreams: from a place where I go to get what I need to a place where I help build, on a daily basis, offering what I know. Taking home what I need.


Half of the social organizations do not have a CNPJ; and Fernanda wants to help solve this issue.

Leia em português aqui.

Fernanda Gomes, GSA 2017, has a hypothesis for change: investing in the administrative and accounting structure of social and cultural initiatives directly influences their impact on the territories.

Accounting issues prevent community leaders from accessing public and private financing, just to give one example among many problems that can arise. And one thing leads to another.

Without money to carry out activities, projects become fragile, and some even end their operations. A groundbreaking survey conducted by the Elos Institute in Baixada Santista showed that 61% of the grassroots partner organizations in our work do not have a bank account. And nearly half, 48%, do not even have a CNPJ (Company Tax ID).

Therefore, Fernanda conceived “Associa as Ações” (Association of Actions), which she leads alongside three other individuals: Pedro Gabriel, Mariana Behr, and Vitória Santos. Only Gabriel hasn’t participated in the GSA Program.

She and her team are developing a methodology to identify and regularize such issues, while building processes and workflows to avoid long-term structural administrative problems in grassroots organizations.

In the pilot phase, supported by Jovens Ideias, Associa as Ações received 11 applications for consultancy and selected 5 organizations for this initial phase.

When the Elos Institute conducted a survey within the GSA Community, which refers to people who have gone through the Guerreiros Sem Armas (GSA) Program, it discovered, among other things, the need to closely support ideas that were somehow inspired by the Elos Philosophy and were emerging among the more than 640 participants scattered around the world.

The majority of these ideas face the challenge of financing, whether due to being in the initial stage – prototype or pilot – or due to the complexity of the language used in calls for proposals.

Fernanda is one of the eight individuals who have been through the GSA Program and are receiving technical and financial support from the Elos Institute to prototype, structure, and systematize their theory of change. More than just funding a one-time action, the objective of Jovens Ideias, as we call this strategy, is to create a secure environment where popular social technologies that address real territorial needs can emerge. This is the case with Associa as Ações.

“For me, participating in this selection process was very rewarding because it’s the only way we can achieve our dream of becoming a regulated community,” explains Carmelita Danúbia, leader of Vila dos Criadores, one of the selected projects.

In addition to her, the Unificação das Quebradas, Associação de capoeira Pelourinho arte cultura esporte Brasil, Grupo Lazer e Cidadania de Cubatão, Associação Comunitária de Moradores do Morro do Pacheco, and Associação de Melhoramentos da Vila dos Criadores, all from Santos, will receive consultancy.

Apart from addressing fiscal and accounting issues, including covering necessary documentation costs, Associa as Ações offers management workshops for the third sector and the development of visual identity for the 5 selected projects.

Beyond Associa as Ações, Jovens Ideias also supports Laboratório de Criação (Salvador, BA), Saberes do Povo do Remanso (Lençóis, BA), Cocriando TRANSformações (Campinas, SP), Associa as Ações (São Vicente, SP), Quilombo GSA – Tereza de Benguela (national), Colorindo a Quebrada com Poesia (national), Museu dos Sonhos Vivos (Recife, PE), and Fim de Semana no Parque (Cubatão, SP).

Who takes care of those who take care: meeting discusses mental health in Vila Esperança

This article was translated by Antonio Oliveira, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

Read it in Portuguese here.
Read it in Spanish here.

An unpublished research conducted by Instituto Elos reveals that 65% of the leaders connected to our work in Baixada Santista dedicate themselves daily to work in their territories. Additionally, 52% of the interviewed leaders do not receive professional psychological support. Considering this, we organized opportunities for exchange on the topic of mental health with partner territories. That’s what happened in Vila Esperança on June 24.

As you already know, Instituto Elos worked with residents in Vila Esperança over the last year, strengthening the development of collective dreams of transformation. One of the outcomes of this work was the renovation of the headquarters of the De Bem com Mangue Association. You can read the full story here. This time, the local leaders welcomed the group from “Mental Health and Care – sociocultural, ethical, and political aspects,” an extension project from the Federal University of São Paulo – UNIFESP.

The group of students got to know the new space and learned more about the activities planned for the second semester. One of the exchanges took place with Francisca, a young writer from Vila Esperança. She is only 10 years old and has just released her first book.

The extension project seeks to promote spaces for exchange and discussions with territorial leaders about the practice of care in various layers of life. This theme is even more urgent for those who take care of so many others, such as community leaders. For this reason, they gathered the people in a circle and sought to name the topic based on the experiences and lived realities present there.

Juliana Gomides, one of the team members who closely accompanied Vila Esperança in recent months, summarizes one of the significant learnings of the day: “The conversation was incredible, and we realized that, in practice, caring here means living in community,” she says.

“The experience of getting to know the space and the different areas of action was incredible, enriching, and inspiring,” says Luiza Escardovelli, a student who is part of the extension group. She was particularly moved by something she heard amidst the ongoing conversations.

“One of the participants in the circle shared a phrase that is still echoing in me: ‘We are families that take care of families.’ This showed me the common and strengthened power of communities,” she reveals. Luiz also celebrates the presence of children throughout the meeting, as they, too, have to deal with many things at the same time. The meeting ended with a beautiful feijoada, shared by all the people in the circle.

Every year, at the end of each GSA Program, Instituto Elos provides follow-up and support to the territories that host the program. With an average duration of one year, during this time, local leaders have regular meetings with institutional facilitators who support various challenges.

What makes a social initiative communicate effectively? In Jovens Ideias, there are some paths.

This article was voluntarily translated by Eloísa Ferré, a member of the Elos Translation Community.

Read it in Portuguese here.
Read it in Spanish here.

Jovens Ideias, as you know, is the call for supporting socio-environmental transformation projects led by those who have gone through the GSA Program, a community of more than 640 people in 57 countries. Instituto Elos’ strategy is to start by supporting those in Brazil and then expand further.

In 2023, in its debut edition, 8 proposals are receiving financial investment and technical support to set their activities and theories of change in motion across the country. One of the main objectives is to support the systematization of these ideas for change. In addition to exchanges among themselves, the GSA Leaders receive experts for inspiring encounters. That’s what happened on the last 4th, when they discussed the challenges of communicating social impact, especially in specific territories. The meeting was facilitated by Ronaldo Matos, a researcher, journalist, and educator.

Read the report about the young idea of Mirian Fonseca by clicking here.

Ronaldo, one of the co-founders of “Desenrola e Não Me Enrola,” a collective that thinks and produces communication from the peripheries and favelas of the southern zone of São Paulo, is one of the most important scholars on the subject and knows, like few others, how to create communication that connects with people’s lives and paths. For a little over two hours, he shared what he has been discovering and doing. He brought a decolonial perspective of communication to the center of the conversation.

“Communicating,” he argues, “is about building connections.” And this cannot be done without considering the perspectives, backgrounds, and language of those who will receive the stories we want to tell. To bring ideas into practice, Ronaldo transformed a multitude of concepts into experiments and experiences. In exercises. The mind understands, but the body lives the knowledge.

“You can see,” he said almost at the end of the meeting, “we started with a movement to get to know our audiences better. Then it was necessary to learn more about our territories, as they are unique and living organisms. We continue to evaluate possible strategies to reach people’s paths, connecting this with the possibility of revising our narrative since we engage with different people. And finally, we collaborate with other groups that do similar things to us.”

Ronaldo thinks of communication beyond the story, the platform, or the content itself. For him, establishing dialogues with projects that came before, that paved the way, is as important as making art or producing promotional videos for the activities.

“What we discussed here is part of something bigger, which is developing a culture of analyzing data and contexts to make decisions. It may seem boring and laborious, but it’s a necessary process if we want to systematically transform our communities,” he says. In other words, we can and need to trust our intuitions, but it doesn’t hurt to surround ourselves with data and information to think about more strategic movements.

In addition to the Creation Laboratory, Jovens Ideias supports Saberes do Povo do Remanso (Lençóis, BA), Cocriando TRANSformações (Campinas, SP), Associa as Ações (São Vicente, SP), Quilombo GSA – Tereza de Benguela (national), Colorindo a Quebrada com Poesia (national), Museu dos Sonhos Vivos (Recife, PE), and Fim de Semana no Parque (Cubatão, SP).


the importance of collective participation in community work

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Lea este artículo en español aquí.

This article was translated by Antonio Oliveira, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

Simone Weil, a French philosopher who studied worker uprooting, presents three uprooting elements present in the experience of her work in the factory: fear, tiredness and subjection. these same elements can be perceived in the community experience.

Uprooting, explains Eclea Bosi, a social psychologist who coordinated the Laboratory of Memory and Oral History Simone Weil at the University of São Paulo, is the “ignorance of the worker in relation to the fate of the things he manufactures”. that is, when a person finds himself fragmented, alienated from his own history, from his reality, from his destiny, he is uprooted.

since 2014 I work in the area of ​​community development at Instituto Elos. the experience in a project spurred me to deepen some reflections and I decided to do a master’s degree in the field of social psychology to seek answers to my concerns. residents of Residencial Jardim Bassoli, Campinas, São Paulo, brought testimonies about the processes of leaving the old house and arriving at the residential, which demonstrated the existence of those uprooting factors described by Simone Weil. the 2380 families that lived in the neighborhood were removed from their former homes with the allegation that they lived in risk areas – threatened by floods, flooding, etc.

the subjection was experienced by these people when the government knocked on the door and warned: “you will have to leave”, with no space for dialogue or understanding of the reasons for the obligation of having to move to a new neighborhood, completely unknown, to live side by side, above or below also unknown people coming from several other neighborhoods of the city.

was felt due to commuting for more than two hours between the workplace and home, considering the 23 kilometers that separate Jardim Bassoli from the center of Campinas and the lack of bus lines and integration terminals.

fear was present from the way people were treated since the beginning of the removal process: a number.

each family was counted as one of the two thousand three hundred and eighty families, whether in one of them there are two people, three or seven. whether in one of them there is a mother with a newborn baby, or a lady in a wheelchair.

reification, which is the transformation of people into objects, turns human dramas into numbers. just as the female worker is just one unit in the work force of Simone Weil’s studies. “We don’t count, it barely exists,” she wrote. the resident doesn’t count either, she barely exists. it’s just a number.

a community development project carried out in this type of territory, where people have gone through an intense experience of being uprooted, needs to have the sensitivity to promote attentive listening, because before starting to dream about the future, it is necessary to listen, listen, listen and invite people to share their stories in collective listening spaces. it is important for residents to recognize that they are not just a number. that they are part of a group of people who have gone through the same experiences.

as community meetings take place, and people feel welcomed and belong, it is possible to start building a shared vision of the future for the new neighborhood.

a first point that needs to be highlighted is: when participating in community meetings, residents discover that they are not alone, that there are other people, their neighbors, who also want to get moving to transform the community:

“Wow, after the square effort happened, that motivated me to do much more. It’s not just there that you need it, there are other places, there are other things to do. So we think like this: ‘wow, that place is so abandoned’ if we wait for the public body, the city hall to come and do it, but they’re going to do it poorly, so it’s better for us to go there and do it. There you go, post it in the group, see who is available to help and such, there is always someone available. ‘So, let’s do it?’, ‘Let’s do it!’” That’s cool, right?! That part that it’s not just you who looks that way, there are many more people who see it the same way you do. And he likes the place he lives and wants to see it differently.”

Fabiana, resident of Jardim Bassoli

Another important point to emphasize is the development of self-confidence through group activities. when the resident realizes that her project can work, that she is not alone, she feels safe, even to talk and tell more people about the activities she is carrying out:

 “I remember when you were in that first square you said: ‘Renata, are we going to do an interview?’ Then I said: [she shakes her head negatively], but it’s because of shyness, really, right?! But today I can already talk a little about us, about our project, it’s just beginning, you know, but our dreams are coming true.”

Renata, resident of Jardim Bassoli

 the friendly relationships that develop and strengthen from community meetings and collective activities transform people’s lives and the place where they live.

 “When I saw it I said ‘hey, I’ll help’. I felt like helping, to do my best in the few days I could help. I am very grateful to the project for looking at us and having this positive view of the neighborhood. There are many people who look at Jardim Bassoli as a negative place, but not me. I’ve lived here for five years and I always try to look on the positive side. Until now it’s the place I have to live and if one day I leave here I want to remember it as a good place. I met a lot of good people here during the joint effort: the talent team, even my neighbors that we had no affinity with. I gained a lot of friends through the project.”

Idrenio, resident of Jardim Bassoli

according to researcher José Moura Gonçalves Filho (2003, p. 223, emphasis added): “friendship represents equality and, more precisely, partnership in equality.” this notion of friendship reveals “the need we have for community coexistence to grow in the experience of being rooted in the world” (SVARTMAN; GALEÃO-SILVA, 2016, p. 341).

community, therefore, presupposes egalitarian neighborhood relations, the feeling of political friendship, when different people meet on an equal basis, and experience practices that encourage collective action. Simone Weil reports the experience of the strike at the factory and talks about the joy she and the other workers experienced:

 “Yes, a joy. (…) What a joy to enter the factory with the smiling permission of a worker who was guarding the door. The joy of encountering so many smiles, so many words of fraternal welcome. (…) The joy of saying what’s in your heart to everyone, bosses and colleagues, in those places where two workers could work for months at a time, side by side, without either of them knowing what the neighbor was thinking. (…) Finally, for the first time, and forever, there will be other memories floating around these heavy machines, and not just that of silence, oppression, submission. Memories that put a little pride in the heart, that will leave a little warmth on top of all that metal.” (WEIL, 1979, p. 106)

community participation experiences contribute to coping with feelings of subjection, fear and tiredness and to promoting feelings of joy, encouraging rooting, characterized by the French philosopher as:

“(…) the most important and most unknown need of the human soul and one of the most difficult to define. The human being is rooted in his real, active and natural participation in the existence of a collectivity that keeps alive certain treasures of the past and certain forebodings of the future.” (WEIL, 2001, p. 43). 

the phrase repeated insistently in several community meetings “unity makes strength” is not just a speech, it is an action, and it is collective.

The transformation of the Jardim Bassoli residence into a community took place through the participation of residents in collective actions, when they decided to take root in this place and fight to make it the best place to live, not only for them, but for all people who live there.

bibliographic references:

BOSI, Ecléa. O Tempo Vivo da Memória: Ensaios de Psicologia Social. São Paulo: Ateliê Editorial, 2003.  

GONÇALVES FILHO, José Moura. Problemas de método em Psicologia Social: algumas notas sobre a humilhação política e o pesquisador participante. In: BOCK, Ana Mercês Bahia. (Org.), Psicologia e compromisso social. São Paulo: Cortez, 2003. 

SVARTMAN, Bernardo Parodi. & GALEÃO-SILVA, Luís Guilherme. Comunidade e resistência à humilhação social: desafios para a psicologia social comunitária. Revista Colombiana de Psicologia. Bogotá. v.25, n.2, p. 331-349, 2016. 

WEIL, Simone. O enraizamento. Bauru, SP: EDUSC, 2001. 

A condição operária e outros estudos sobre a opressão. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1979.

Clarissa Borges is GSA Warrior 2012. holds a degree in Social Communication from the Federal University of Santa Maria (2010), a master’s degree in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo (2021). since 2014 I work as a social mobilizer and facilitator of groups in community development projects. in my free time I use embroidery to rest my mind and as a tool to fight in feminist and anti-racist militancy and for LGBTQIAP+ visibility.

Mirian Fonseca: when we access an edict, we don’t have to get everything right at first

This article was translated by Izadora Silva, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

By saying that, Mirian points out a request for care and welcoming from the funders with whom it is at the beginning of its journey in the world of projects. 2019 GSA Warrior, she is from Lauro de Freitas and currently lives in Salvador, Bahia. She is one of the eight supported by Young Ideas in 2023.

When the Elos Institute ran a survey with the GSA Community, which is how we call those who went through some edition of GSA Warriors, it discovered, among many things, it was necessary to support more closely, ideas that it was inspired by the Elos Philosophy in some way, that sprang among the more than 600 participants from all around the world.

Most of these ideas faced the challenge of funding, whether because it was in the initial phase, or because of the complexity of the language of the edicts.

More than supporting a one-off action or a project in the GSA leadership community, Young Ideas is the search for a safe environment in which people can test their hypotheses of transformation. That is, technical and financial support to research, elaborate, design, test, make mistakes if necessary, in search of the best versions of a project.

We want to encourage the development of emerging social technologies. And we can’t do that without a support network. This is the case with Mirian’s work.

“When I left the GSA, I drew my Path of Expansion thinking about how to use the Elos Methodology to draw a theatrical spectacle or artistic creation processes,” she explains. She holds a degree in Theater Direction from the Theater School of the Federal University of Bahia and she has at least 11 years of experience in community mobilization and development of collaborative projects.

She thought that it would be possible, of course, to use what she learned in other contexts, and that was how the Creation Laboratory was born, an initiative that uses the dimensions of the Elos Methodology (Potential, Belonging and Protagonism) to map resources, talents and dreams focusing on the restructuring and institutional repositioning of cultural collectives. The pilot project, supported by the so-called Young Ideas, will be held with the oCartel, a group of black artists from the peripheries of Salvador.

“When we ask what are the dreams of a group, we can map what we need to ask for in an edict, for example,” says Mirian. Who thus points out a little of how she intends to sew the relationship of the Elos Philosophy with the Creation Laboratory.

“Many times we can’t even have a close look at our network,” she says. One of the initiative stages is precisely this investigation of talents and resources that are close, and that we barely trigger in our daily lives.

The linear and often distant way of investigating, organizing and structuring collective powers leaves the scene, to enter another way of addressing institutional challenges, especially in cultural collectives. A more horizontal, a more collective way. In addition to supporting the group to advance to another moment of its existence and its work, the Creation Laboratory – Cartel Edition foresees a series of artistic deliveries.

Inspiring and very powerful, Mirian’s project is one of 8 proposals supported by the Elos Institute in 2023. In addition to the Creation Laboratory, Young Ideas supports the Knowledge of the People of Remanso (Lençóis, BA), Co-creating TRANSformations (Campinas, SP), Associates Actions (São Vicente, SP), Quilombo GSA – Tereza de Benguela (national), Coloring the Quebrada with Poetry (national), Museum of Living Dreams (Recife, PE) and the Weekend in the Park (Cubatão, SP).

‘People need to know that they are not alone’: our work in network with Baixada Santista

This article was translated by Israel Carvalho, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

First, it is necessary to say that the phrase above is from Mariana Felippe, one of the territory articulation network managers, which is: the meeting of leaderships of Baixada Santista with whom we work today or at some previous time. On Saturday, the 27th, this group got together for the first time this year. There were 26 people, from 5 cities: Santos, Cubatão, Praia Grande, Guarujá and Peruíbe.

“We want to build a safe space in which leaders can exchange with each other what they know and what they are doing”, explains Natasha Mendes Gabriel, Movement coordinator, area in charge of this project within the Elos Institute.

She says that these people, who are every day on the front line of social work, face similar challenges, go through similar situations and often don’t have a place to talk about it, to exchange about it. And this is where Mariana comes in, again.

“We can notice”, she says, “that there is a very strong feeling of loneliness among these leaders. They do a lot of things on their own, feel that there is no recognition of their work or that people do not fully understand what they are doing. In addition, there is a lot of pressure coming from all sides. Who supports it?”, analyses Mariana. That is why and for that reason that this work of articulation with territories of Baixada Santista exists, she explains:

“When we are together we can share the pains, the challenges and the solutions that each place has found. You have to bring people together to let them know that they are not alone in doing what they do”.

This project was born from a survey by the Elos Institute, still in 2022. At the time, the Movement area interviewed leaders to draw up profiles, understand the nature of their works, the challenges of each territory and how the Elos Institute could be a strategic ally in the medium and long term.

Having a space for exchange and development appeared as a necessity during the interviews. The study will be told soon around here.  

Nobody knows more, we know differently

“The meeting was very important for me”, says Elizabeth Alves. She has lived in Vila Israel for 8 years, one of the first residents of the place. “It’s important to tell what we’re doing, but also to listen to what other communities are doing, you know. This way, we learn from each other”.  José Domingos thinks very similarly, take a look:

“Because you can bring an idea that you heard there at the meeting to your home, which will contribute there in your territory. Oftentimes you are working in one direction, then you discover that it is not the best one at times like these”. Domingos, who has lived in Pilões for 22 years, says that “Elos does this very well, by bringing leaders together to talk. Elos is like a bridge”. We like that image, Domingos.

In addition to Vila Israel and Pilões, the meeting was attended by leaders from Vila Pantanal, Vila Dos Criadores, Monte Serrat, Vila Esperança, Instituto Novos Sonhos, Biblioteca Comunitária Conto de Fadas Periférico (Peripheral Fairytale Community Library), Editora Periferia tem Palavra and Coletivo de Mulheres Caiçaras (Collective of Caiçaras Women).

Next Moves
The meetings will be regular, from now until December. For the next one, the Elos Institute will detail what it has discovered with the community survey. It will also be the time to map the common interests for the construction of an agenda of studies and exchanges throughout the year.

Sewing the dots: we gain strength when we connect Elos’ work to public policies

This article was translated by Fernanda Paula Razini, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

It is Juliana Campos who explains that participation in councils is as challenging as it is fundamental to guarantee that public policies really talk to people’s needs. She is one of the people who occupies a space in the councils, from the Elos Institute on.

Councils are spaces that discuss, supervise, and suggest improvements in an area of public service, for example, in Health. Being part of it means that you will get together from time to time with several people to discuss if everything is working as it should in your city. And if not, how you can change it. People representing the government and civil society participate in the councils. In other words, governors, and you and me, people who have a direct interest in the subject, who use that service.

“Councils are spaces for tensioning, in the sense of bringing about difficult conversations of the model or functioning of a policy,” Juliana says. “Because the idea is that you meet there from the person who uses the service to a representative of the Public Ministry, for example. Everybody together.” In practice, she explains, this helps society to ask for changes or suggest new ideas. In some cases, even to report a problem.

Ideally, she argues, we should be able to guarantee conditions for the population to be in these places. However, this is not what happens. Juliana says that, many times, the meetings take place at times when the leaders can’t go. As the Elos Institute works in partnership with many territories, participating in councils is one of the ways to ensure that the needs of these places and people are considered, taken into account.

“We have some clues of the challenges and needs that exist because of our proximity, but also because of actions like the research we did. So, I see that it is also up to us to take these points to these places,” she argues.

Our work is explained like this: we are a social education organization that strengthens the capacity of people to transform their reality. In other words, we build the environment and the conditions for people to be protagonists of their own history. Stimulating the occupation of councils is one of the many ways to do this.

“Our work gains more strength and becomes more efficient when we manage to link it to larger contexts, such as public policies,” argues Juliana. “After going to a community and supporting the construction of stilt houses, for example, it is important that we open a channel where these residents can sit down with the public authorities to think about the next steps”. The name Elos is not by chance, as we can see.

Besides the Municipal Council of Social Assistance, in which Juliana participates, the Elos Institute takes part in other articulations inside and outside public decision-making spaces.

Jully Neves: The power of initiatives in promoting diversity and inclusion

This article was translated by Izadora Silva, a volunteer participant in the Translation Community at Instituto Elos.

The origin of the word utopia is Greek and means “no place”. In other words, a place that does not exist. When I see this definition, I remember the time when my dream was to transform the world. I wanted to be a person who could make history. I thought about it for years, even though I’ve never mentioned it to anyone. Today I think differently. Why did I change my mind, did that dream no longer exist? There, deep down, it still exists, but today it’s different. It transmuted.

I understood that only through collective utopia can become reality.

When we talk about diversity, inclusion, human rights, equality and other related topics, utopia is the idealization of a world in which these values are an intrinsic part of society.

A fair world, where all people are valued and respected regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or any other characteristic.

It is from this idea that we can think of a better future and work collectively to achieve it.

The community is an important bond in the fight for inclusion and equality. Through dialogue and cooperation, it is possible to promote initiatives that allow the opening and expansion of discussions on important and fundamental topics to guarantee a more fair and equal society. 

These communities can be formed by NGOs, collectives and companies, which come together for a common cause. The role of these organizations is fundamental because they can give visibility to issues related to diversity and create commitment in society in favor of these guidelines.

Each person has a fundamental role to play, either through daily attitudes, or through commitment in social movements, private and public organizations, among other places. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s worth it, as it translates into a better world for all people. 

As for diversity, inclusion and belonging. We can conceptualize it as follows: diversity is the representation of different people, inclusion is ensuring that all people have opportunities, and belonging is guarantee that all people feel safe and valued. But, how to promote diversity, inclusion and belonging in companies, through laws, among other places and actions? 

Diversity and inclusion must be seen as an advantage and wealth.

In order to promote and adopt real changes in places, it is necessary for decision-makers to use literacy, that is, training, lectures and mentoring, and through informative manuals. As well as representative participation in management positions, opportunities, and fair remuneration.

A welcoming organizational culture is one that values and respects people, offering a safe and comfortable work environment.

When people feel welcomed, they tend to be more committed and productive, in addition to staying longer in those places. A specific department to deal with guidelines related to diversity and inclusion is essential to promote these guidelines. These are some ways to promote diversity and inclusion.

It is necessary that people are open to dialogue and willing to learn from differences. There must also be a culture of empathy and respect for differences, understanding that each person is unique and has their particularities. Conflicts are inevitable, but there are ways to deal with them consciously and constructively.

The world will be a much better place if we manage to live in a fair and truly egalitarian society. Unfortunately, the reality is different, and prejudice and discrimination still affect many people in the world. The search for a fairer world is a commitment that must be shared by all people and will only be possible with actions and concrete measures that promote inclusion and equality.

The initiative through the community to break with labels, prejudices and fear opens up opportunities for us to build our utopias together for a fair, prosperous and solidary world for all people.

Phew, glad utopias exist.

This article is from Jully Neves, GSA Warrior 2017. She is from Recife, capital of Pernambuco State, in Northeastern Brazil. She practices archery and Chinese boxing, passionate about beach and mush. She is a black, LGBTQI+, neuroatypical, peripheral and northeastern woman. She has a bachelor’s degree in administration, Human Rights and a certification in Agile Methodologies. She works as a consultant in Diversity and Inclusion and management of social projects.She is GSA Warrior 2017. Translated by Izadora Silva.

Mapa da Abundância GSA#2: ShivShera Azeer

Na segunda edição do Mapa de Abundância temos o depoimento de ShivShera Azeer.

Ele é indiano e veio para o Guerreiros Sem Armas (GSA) em 2011 e voltou para o Círculo de Re-Evolução de 2014. Aqui ele conta como está sendo sua jornada. Nada mais emocionante quando recebemos uma devolutiva sobre a importância da Filosofia Elos na transformação da vida de gsas.

“Eu estava em minha própria busca interior quando a GSA aconteceu. Olhando para trás, percebo que a GSA me deu um impulso inicial para os valores que eu acreditava de qualquer maneira e que sonhava profundamente, mas nunca tinha visto implementado na prática.
Naquela época, a Filosofia Elos fortaleceu minha própria jornada. Deu-me um formato para implementar minha visão para meu próprio propósito de vida. O alcance passou gradualmente de facilitador do Jogo Oasis até usar a metodologia em uma variedade de compromissos sociais e corporativos, que me permitiam viver a filosofia diariamente.

Depois, eu conheci o Guru Udumbara Gesu e tenho estado intensamente orientado desde os últimos 4 anos. Além de outras coisas, através do treinamento, sou capaz de ver a importância dessa filosofia, o impacto que ela teve na minha vida e a maneira perfeita como estou vivendo a filosofia, use as ferramentas efetivamente sempre que necessário.
Meu aprendizado de como eu uso a Filosofia Elos:

1. Sonhar como uma solução prática
2. Em qualquer situação, ter em primeiro lugar os valores de beleza e apreciação
3. Envolver-se com empatia
4. Escutar profundamente
5. Seguir as etapas da Filosofia Elos em detalhes que levam à ação milagrosa
6. Uso de Tecnologias sociais como Jogos Cooperativos, Open Space, Word Café, entre outras

Escrevi um artigo em inglês sobre estas transformações, onde escrevo:

Essa exposição e conhecimento foram profundamente curativos para mim. Isso me proporcionou muitas oportunidades e oportunidades de me sentir confortável em ‘ser diferente’. Mas ser diferente não é suficiente, como nós, millennials, descobrimos depois de muita demora. Ser diferente com sucesso. Ser diferente pacificamente. Ser diferente de forma significativa e ser diferente de maneira contributiva é crucial.

Com amor ShivShera Azeer