Instituto Povo do Mar
managed by P. Vasconcelos
IPOM stands for Instituto Povo do Mar which means "People of the Sea Institute" in Portuguese. We are based in the Serviluz neighbourhood of Fortaleza, beside the surf spot known as Titanzinho. IPOM is a non-government organization founded by four Brazilian surfers who began running informal events in the community in 2010. From cleaning the beach to celebrating Children's Day (Dia das Crianças) and Christmas, IPOM has grown into a "human development centre", offering activities to children and teenagers outside of school.
In Brazil, children attend school either in the morning or in the afternoon. IPOM offers classes at the same times so that a child could, for example, attend IPOM in the morning and school in the afternoon. IPOM therefore offers local children an opportunity to participate in art classes, Maracatú, ICT classes and English conversation classes instead of being at home, or on the street. At the moment we have over 100 children registered in our projects and a team of 22 staff and volunteers. We offer classes 08.30-11.30 and 13.30-16.30, Monday to Friday.
As well as a caring, supportive team of IPOM staff and volunteers, the children have access to an educational environment and a range of fun activities. Everyone together builds new relationships and perspectives in a friendly, safe environment. Visitors are welcome and we work closely with the community leadership towards sustaining the provision of activities for the children.
IPOM also supports the Brasis upcycling project which has provided the infrastructure for adult self-employment inside the community. A group of eight local women upcycle plastic canvas advertisement banners into reusable bags, generating income from material otherwise dumped as waste.
Of course, surfing is the reason that IPOM was created and so there is always a connection to the sea and surf. We care for the environment, nature and the sea in the same way we work with people: to grow, to respect, to share. In IPOM we grow every day and learn to care, trust and love one another in our constant development as human beings. We are always working with new ideas - IPOM is a factory of possibility.