147 needs of an institution, namely, the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, with part of its contents introduced via the distance learning channel. Centro de Educação para Surdos Rio Branco’ activities have also been very much about innovating and breaking new grounds. Their successful experiences over the years led, around 2005, to the decision to start producing materials on video and, while at it, to value the Libras language since there were no materials specifically designed for its users available on the market at that time. That initiative went very well, making the CES a benchmark in that area and drawing professionals who work with the deaf, as well as academic researchers. Showing that tendency to produce and share innovative contents, another high-impact action was the 1st International Congress on Education for the Deaf, Bilingualism: Practices and Prospects, which was held in 2008 at Granja Vianna Unit and attended by experts from the world over. Three years later came the second edition of that Congress, which is now well-established as an indispensable event for those who deal with the theme, having also resulted in publications that collect the papers presented and contribute to the formation of a specialized bibliography. In 2011, it was renamed Centro de Educação para Surdos Rio Branco (Educational Center for the Deaf), instead of Escola para Crianças Surdas Rio Branco (School for Deaf Children). More than just a name change, that was a way of reinforcing the breadth of the institution’s work, which goes a long way beyond schooling to undertake projects designed to value the culture and identity of the deaf. At Centro Profissionalizante Rio Branco, for its part, 2007 was a year of turnaround, in the words of Susana Penteado. The focus shifted from basic and specific training programs onto educating apprentices for work in a business environment as administrative assistants. A program designed for compliance with the requirements of the Learning Act, which was passed in the year 2000 and is now better known as the “Apprentice Act”, the Programa de Socioaprendizagem Profissional (socio professional learning program) was launched. Regulated in 2005, that piece of legislation made it compulsory for businesses to hire a quota of youths, aged between 14 and 24 years, who must be either going to school or finishing high school. Originating from the Granja Vianna Unit, that program is now also offered at Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco’s campus in Lapa. At the same time, by reason of the need to adapt the institution for the requirements of the new legislation, preparations commenced for making it self-reliant, generating cash to pay itself off. “In our socio professional learning program, technical training is not the chief objective; rather, first comes the behavioral aspect, the life skills. That has become Cepro’s hallmark, its point of difference. However, that doesn’t mean traditional subjects such as Portuguese and Maths are no longer taught,” says Susana Penteado. The understanding that theirs were vulnerable students, coming from households with a family income of up to one minimum wage per capita, led to the determination that their work was to serve a dual purpose: to receive, and to open their view of the world. “They need to learn to dream, to make life plans, as we see that is not in their horizon when they come in,” she explains. Over 100 businesses have become partners: they admit apprentices trained by Cepro, which closely monitors the progress of their activities, while providing guidance for both apprentices and managers. Among the hirers of those apprentices, the Fundação itself plays a major role, as do its maintained entities. Another highly relevant, transformative project was rolled out at Lapa Unit in 2008, focusing on the training for the deaf and impaired people. Two courses were created: the first one was designed for high school adolescents who were deaf, in partnership with the CES, and the second, arising from an agreement with Selur (an acronym for São Paulo State Union of the Urban Cleaning Companies) and Rotary, for people who had been in an accident and, as a result, had some kind of physical impairment to be trained to return to the job market. The latter initiative was so successful that it won in 2009 the Anamatra Human Rights award, presented by the “National Association of Labor Court Judges” in recognition of projects with positive effects on human rights in the world of labor. Cepro would also win the Selo Parceiros da Aprendizagem (or “Learning Partners Seal”), from the Ministry of Labor and Employment, for their work as an educational institution. Another milestone of that period was the opening, in late 2013, of the Faculdades’ modern new building at Granja Vianna, which includes dozens of classrooms equipped with multimedia aids, computer laboratories and state-of-the-art technological infrastructure. Of great importance in making that initiative feasible was the support of Eduardo Couso, president of the Council of Presidents of the Fundação (2010-2011), from Consultrix company, who donated the project of the foundations. In addition, Roberto Nahas, from Geofix company, donated the hours of the drill which was used to dig the foundations.
Livro Comemorativo dos 70 anos da Fundação de Rotarianos de São Paulo - Uma história de ideias e ideais
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