Volunteer teacher brings learning to Brazil’s streets

World Today

Volunteer teacher brings learning to Brazil's streets

In Brazil, about half of all adults did not complete high school. And nearly one in five people fails to finish elementary school. But there’s an engineer in Rio de Janeiro, who’s trying to make a difference by bringing the classroom to the streets.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio.

In March, Silverio Moron, a 63-year-old engineer decided to help needy students in Rio de Janeiro. He walks a couple of blocks with a bundle of text books through the streets of Botafogo, a beachfront neighborhood in Rio.

At a small and colorful square, he sits at one of the concrete tables with a sign that reads, “I solve doubts in Mathematics and Physics – Free.” From 11 to 2 every weekday, he offers classes to a growing number of students who have turned 25.

“Until the end of the year, mid-December when the school period ends, I aim to have 270 students,” Moron says.

His first engineering student was Marcio Almeida, who had stopped studying before meeting him.

“It was thanks to him that I didn’t quit,” Marcio says. “When I saw that blessing sign saying it was free, I changed my mind.”

Moron is not a trained teacher, but he’s been giving private classes for almost 14 years and now has bigger dreams.

“If I am able to raise the education level, I will be able to invert a situation of violence that affects all of us,” he says.

His success has encouraged others to join him, including a 75-year-old retired computer analyst named Duleme Aleixo.

“His initiative is something that needs to be followed, so I have decided to join him,” Aleixo says. 

Moron’s success began after a passerby took a photograph of him with the free classes sign. In just one day, it was shared by more than 40-thousand people on social media.

He uses an equation to explain what he does. “Education plus time plus unity is equal to less violence and more jobs, and that’s called citizenship,” Moron says.

He also says educating Brazilians is no longer just a dream, but a practice of helping others with whatever time and knowledge he has.