Rodrigo Matos, Alan Eccel, Mayor Gustavo Fruet, & Ubiraci Rodrigues look at a school floor plan

On February 6th, Gustavo Fruet, Mayor of Curitiba [the capital of Paraná, Brazil], and Ubiraci Rodrigues, President of the Popular Housing Company of Curitiba (or COHAB), signed a free lease term for transfer of land to the Residents Association of Cajuru. The international organization Playing For Change Foundation will build a music school there that the local community can attend for free.
Created in 2007, the nonprofit organization Playing For Change Foundation aims to create and maintain music schools in underserved communities around the world. It operates in countries like Thailand, South Africa, Ghana, Nepal, Mali, and Rwanda. The school in Curitiba will be the first in South America.
“It is an honor for our city to have been chosen to receive a project of this size, which aims to bring culture to poor communities as a means of social inclusion,” said the mayor.
According to the director of the organization, Rodrigo Matos, the Curitiba school project will serve as a reference for deployment in other cities around the world. “This project is more than a music school, it is a reference. We also intend to offer English and computer courses, to enable participants to interact with students from other schools around the world, so as to exchange experiences,” he says.
The funds for construction of the school were raised by selling tickets to a Playing For Change band concert in October of last year at the Ópera de Arame. It will be 2,690 square feet, with a green roof, community garden, an indoor sports court and rooms for various activities.

The choice of the Residents Association of Cajuru was not by chance. In 2004, another institution called the Grande Roda de Tambores (the Great Wheel of Drums), started a musical work with the community in question. Aiming to expand the service, coordinator Thiago Sinden presented the association to the Playing For Change fundraiser, Alan Eccel.
“This synergy between the two organizations and the neighborhood association brought great results. The local community has always participated effectively in the proposed activities, then we decided it was an appropriate place to build the school. The fact is that it would not be possible without the support of COHAB and of Curitiba’s City Hall,” explains Eccel.
He is keen to stress that the school [does not belong to] Playing for Change. “The school is not the association. It is something done by the community for the community,” he says.
The young Ketlyn Grace, 18, has participated in the Grande Roda de Tambores since the beginning of activities in Cajuru. “It changed my life. I met many friends, got culture, learned a lot different. I have a daughter and want to pass all this knowledge to her. The music school will be for our community and I want my daughter to participate when she is the right age,” she said.
Moisés Ferreira, 17, is also part of the group and highlights the importance. “We live in a very difficult community where many young people choose the wrong path. Thanks to this project I made my choice on the right track, as well as many other colleagues. With the school ready even the younger can be satisfied,” he says.

Valdir Cruz (translated)

This Article was translated from an article posted by the Agência de Notícias de Prefeitura de Curitiba:
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