The Children at Risk Foundation, known as ACER in Brazil was founded in 1993 to offer an alternative way of life to vulnerable children and young people living on the streets of São Paulo. In 2003, ACER changed tack. It established a Community Centre in Diadema in one of São Paulo’s most violent suburbs where many of the young people and children who ended up on the street came from. Mission statement:
Rescue the dignity of children and young people and promote social transformation.
ACER is now built around three core programmes:
• Education and Culture (which includes the ACER Library)
• Social Work
• Community Development
This project will focus on the education of 1 local teenager through their work in the ACER Library as youth monitor. Since its inauguration in 2003 the Library is a vital place for the whole community. Kids come here to read books, investigate for school and others just listen to their prarents stories. This gives them a unique possibility to escape from their miserable situation at home. The teenager between 15/16 years will gain his first work experiences and serve the local community in the ACER Library. As youth monitor he will supervise the computer facilities, advice and attend borrowers from the community and also work with children in local schools to get them interested in reading. This experience will give him a tremendous support to find his first real job by having gained self-confidence and social skills.
ACER Library Milestones
At the end of the first year the Library had 1954 cardholding members and more than 26,800 books were lent. By 2005 the number almost doubled to 3800 card holders. In 2006 ACER received a large grant from a private donor to make the Library accessible for physically disabled and implemented 10 computers to offer free Internet access.
(On average there are 200 daily visitors mainly children and teenagers and 6.000 library card holders)