Strengthening the quilombola culture and female empowerment in Paraíba

Conversation wheel "Dialogues on gender: the importance of rural black female collectives", at Escola Municipal Educador Paulo Freire, in Menina's Cross.

A Adel and the Neoenergy, with the support of the Neoenergy Institute, carry out from 2019, through the SER Program - Health, Education and Income, various actions to strengthen quilombola culture and female empowerment in the Girl's Cross community, located in the municipality of Dona Inês, in Paraíba.

The activities of the SER Program in the community focus on access to quality water for human consumption and production; e, the expansion of family capacities, especially women's, through educational actions to promote citizenship and the generation of work and income. The initiative includes the construction of a Quilombola Cultural Center. The space seeks to strengthen the handicrafts, rural tourism and local cuisine, entrepreneurship and the role of women.

Are 73 families, about of 365 People, involved in the activities of the, discussing and reflecting on their life histories and the performance of local actors for local development. In March, the month in which international women's day and international day against racial discrimination are celebrated, the SER Program promoted together with the local community a debate on gender and racial issue.

The conversation wheel "Gender dialogues: the importance of rural black female collectives", happened on the day 31 March, at Escola Municipal Educador Paulo Freire, in Menina's Cross. 26 women residing in the Quilombola Cruz da Menina Community participated in the activity. Questions about gender were discussed, race, health, Education, rights and public policies. An open dialogue for exchanges between participants.

Gender talk wheel

The conversation wheel "Dialogues on gender: the importance of rural black female collectives" was driven by Andreia Nazarene, 42, quilombola black woman of the Sítio de Grossos Community, located in the municipality of Bom Jesus, Rio Grande do Norte, e, coordinator of the CONAQ (National Coordination of Articulation of Rural Black Communities Quilombolas), where she is part of the Collective of Rural Black Women Quilombolas.

Andreia Nazarene, CONAQ coordinator (National Coordination of Articulation of Rural Black Communities Quilombolas).

Andreia started the activity with the reading of the poem "Cabelos" by the writer quilombola Antônio Bispo. Then, she spoke of her trajectory of struggle and militancy in social movements and in the conquest of the rights of quilombola people. Solo mother of 4 offspring, bachelor's degree in Cooperative Management and specialist in Territorial Management and Solidarity Economy from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Andreia knows well how important it is to know and study her own culture, tackle racism and sexism, and get involved in issues facing the territory.

For Andreia, the exchange of knowledge and experiences such as these promoted by the SER Program is an opportunity to arouse the interest of women for the formation of local participatory bodies and appreciation of their culture. "It's a unique moment, where each quilombo has its specialties, your knowledge, their culture. I'm happy to exchange our experiences of black maroon women"., emphasizes.

The women in the community received the proposal of the action with great enthusiasm, what was reflected throughout the realization of the moment, with a lot of exchange and interaction between the participants. It is urgent to hold discussions with this agenda, discussions about gender, racial issues and diversity need to be strengthened and this was proven in the speech of the various women and leaders present in the activity, who reported setbacks in relation to public policies, rights and the weakening of networks and collectives.

For D. Help, 63, who is said to be born and raised in the Quilombola territory of Cruz da Menina, the realization of the activity is a source of pride. "I've learned a lot and I want more conversations to come, more lectures, more good for our community", strengthens. Bianca Cristina, 38, president of the Community Association of Cruz da Menina and representative of the quilombos of Paraíba, reports that the topics addressed were very important, mainly political issues. "It is necessary for us women to occupy these spaces, where there are a majority of white men and aristocrats who exclude minorities and make the old welfare policy", highlights.

Oxumarê dance group

To end the activity, there was the presentation of percussion and maculelê dance of the group Oxumarê, created in 2004 and composed only of black women of Girl's Cross.

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