Marina Quintanilha Martinez
BrazilFellow since 1987

Ashoka commemorates and celebrates the life and work of this deceased Ashoka Fellow.

In a country of few readers and even fewer libraries, Marina in the last three years, has done a remarkable job promoting creative thinking and making reading attractive to the middle class TV oriented kids as well as the street children of the Brazilian slums.

#Rio de Janeiro#Brazil#Recife#Middle class#Favela#Lower middle class#Slum#Poverty

The New Idea

The caliber and impact of Marina's work was recognized when she was invited to represent Brazil in the seminar "New Paths to Reading in Developing Countries" held last April in France -- this was a unique opportunity to have impact of her work go beyond national boundaries. In the seminar Marina shared her work with dozens of experts from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many of them pledged they will use Marina's ideas and innovations (from cloth dolls to fund raising) in their work. At home in Brazil, Marina has worked on two fronts 1.) the Lino Melo library; her laboratory, where she tests new ideas and new activities -- creativity workshops, drama, music, etc. with middle class and lower middle class children. The Lino Melo library is visited by hundreds of children every month and the number is growing steadily crowding into small rooms. 2.) the Live Space in Mono do Esperanza (Hope Hill -- a slum area in Rio de Janeiro) -- this "space of activities" is used by hundreds of children from the surrounding crowded slums, many of whom, spend most of their lives in the dangerous streets of Rio de Janeiro. Her activities with street children, which count with the participation of Ashoka Fellow, Roberto Jose dos Santos' street children, have called the attention of an international foundation. _____ invited Marina to help design the major street children's project in the state of Bahia. In the last three years Marina has directly helped the establishment of at least a dozen other creative libraries in Rio de Janeiro and in Pernambuco. She worked with Ashoka Fellow Valdemar de Oliveira Neto to set up five libraries as part of the community school's system in Recife (Pernambuco). Marina has also spread her work through seminars, conferences and information materials which reached a broad audience of educators, government officials and community leaders. Bridging the gap between poor and better to do communities has become an increasingly important part of her work. The Association of Friends of the Libraries set up by Marina does volunteer work and fund raises for the poor libraries. They even set up a cultural production unit which makes among other things cloth doll books with proceeds going toward the purchase of books for the poor libraries. Marina's work has been remarkably successful what is corroborated by the substantial peer coverage she has got (see newspaper clippings). A recent TV interview has generated hundreds of phone calls from parents, educators and children interested in different aspects of her work. Now Marina would like to write a book to share her experiences and expertise with Brazilian society.