We’d like to share with you all some of the difficulties/challenges/interesting things which happen in the day to day life at ReVive. This post is on Schools.
One of the first challenges we face when a new girl arrives at ReVive is getting her back into school. Generally, they’ve been out of school for some time and need to get back into full time education. The task of doing this lies with ReVive’s Social Worker, Iúle. These are just some of the challenges she faces:
Brazilian Bureaucracy – You can’t escape it! In order to enrol the girl into a new school you need to have her ‘transfer’ papers and education history from her old school. This involves tracking down where she used to study (sometimes having to go into shanty towns), requesting the papers and keeping on top of the old school until they finally provide them! This can be straightforward if her old school is nearby – but we’ve had cases of children coming from the interior of the state where their old school is 100s of miles away… or the old school has lost the child’s education history… or never received it from her previous school so you have to track down that school and so on…
Once you have the papers the bureaucracy doesn’t stop there! You then need to have the child’s birth certificate and other personal papers in order to enrol them… but most girls coming from abusive and exploitation situations don’t have these documents with them. This then means having to track down these documents – sometimes needing to go to the aggressors house to get them!
School Spaces – Just having the right documentation doesn’t mean a space at school is guaranteed! We try to put the girls in the school’s closest to ReVive – imagine if 10 girls studied at 10 different schools!? The school run would be a marathon! Unfortunately, the local schools are usually over subscribed… Plus, the girls arriving at ReVive tend to do so in the middle of the school year – another complicating factor for putting her back into education. We do have a few aces up our sleeves – we can request a judicial order that the school accepts the girl regardless of having space or not!
The Girl is way behind – One of the most recent arrivals at ReVive is a 13 year old girl … she would be in the equivalent of year 8/9 in the UK… but due to circumstances she’s still in year 5! So, she’s in a class with 6-7 year olds. A 14 year old arrived last year who couldn’t even read or write.
Obviously, one of the most important things ReVive can offer these girls is help with their education. This is why we built a little classroom at the house and the girls have daily reinforcement classes. We’re also looking at trying to employ a part-time special needs teacher to help those far behind.