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Responsible Citizenships in Favelas in Rio de Janeiro

13/03/2020 | 0 Comments

by Diana Nijboer, founder and director of EduMais

Talking about responsible citizenship in favelas in Rio de Janeiro is a challenging topic when your students are aged between 8-13. How do you create a base in a Summer Camp English? When it is supposed to be fun, energetic, light, playful and full of learning? Read here more about how we set up our Summer Camps to engage our students in becoming responsible citizens.

Our Summer Camp theme this year: We Are The World.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote in 1985 the compelling text about love, helping and giving to save the lives of others and show we cared about people starving in Africa. It was written to encourage and inspire the world to offer a helping hand.
For three whole weeks, all the English lessons and activities are built around love, helping and giving. During this time our children listened to this inspiring music, learned to understand the lyrics and in all activities we invited them to show love, to help and to give.

Our base

At EduMais, all our programs are based on Positive Discipline to help students solve problems together, cooperate and collaborate. But how do we do that? Kids feel empowered when they get choices. So that is what we offer at the camp. With a clear and strong structure, there were plenty of choices for how to interact, learn and participate.

Kids choosing jobs and learning to become responsible

How do you want to be greeted?

Students choose how they want to be greeted. Once they arrive they indicate they want a hug, a high five or dance together. This brought smiles to their face straight away. It also means that they and our volunteers connect and bring importance to each other. Their eyes sparkle while they look at each other.

Set up jobs to create connection and importance

What kind of job do you want to do to help us all to have the best summer camp ever? Every morning the kids choose. Their options are the same tasks/roles as our volunteer teachers. This is another wonderful opportunity for our youth to connect emotionally and to feel important. There is no better way to develop young kids to become responsible citizens than this.

So what were the jobs/roles? Well, here we go:

Washing the fruits, and have the snack corner ready before the activities start,

door greeter,

attendance keeper,

line keeper,


noise level keeper,

handing out the utensils,

stacking the chairs, etc.


Kids happily choose jobs and contribute big time.

Encouragement and compliments to become exemplary citizens

All our volunteers are trained in Positive Discipline by Diana Nijboer who is a certified Positive Discipline Educator. They are responsible citizens edumaisencouraged to see how well the kids are doing the tasks. When a task needs attention the volunteer trains the child on how it is best done. Every day we have many moments to encourage our kids and give them compliments on how well they do the job and more importantly how to help us to have the BEST SUMMER CAMP EVER.

Every opportunity we see we make sure we express that.

But what is the difference between a compliment and praise you ask? Well, just give it a thought?

What do you think when someone says to you good job? Good boy/girl?

Do you know what you did well?

What makes you a good boy or girl?

Instead, we make sure that we make it specific. How does that sound?

Well, it goes like this: thank you for helping to clean the fruits it means you helped us to be able to have everything ready,

thank you for helping to put all the name tags on the table in alphabetical order you make our life so much easier.

Thank you for helping to keep the line we have so much more time to have fun and play etc.

Every day all volunteers line up and all kids pass us by giving a high five or a hug and say see you[a] tomorrow. The kids love this! All the smiles and happiness make us beam too. It is definitely a moment of joy after the hours of working with them.

Model responsible citizenship

We had a big farewell celebration on our last day and said happy holidays to all our kids. That was such an enjoyable event.Responsible citizens

Without us even requested 6 boys stayed on to clean up with us after all the others had gone. They took a broom to clean the floor, cleaned the tables, helped us to take the materials to the storage all big smiles and amazing helping hands. These young people truly believe that helping was important and they want to contribute to help the Summer Camp to make it the best ever.

This is such a great example of what can happen when you believe students are capable and act in ways to support your belief in their capabilities.

This is the type of cooperation and collaboration we at Edumais are fostering in our children. How would these students have ever started helping themselves if they had not experienced connection and the significance during the Summer Camp?

What tools do our kids learn and develop in our Summer Camps?

In our programs, through Positive Discipline our students learn the tools of mutual respect, cooperation, and collaboration. They experience the positive use of power, and this empowerment reduces their need to act out and create problems in order to feel powerful and turns them into exemplary citizens.

Do you want to know more about our Summer Camps, volunteering or how you can contribute? Send us a message.


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