Brazil - The summer course

This event, organized by the CESEEP (Ecumenical Centre of Evangelisation and Education Services for the People), always takes place in January, the summer, hence its name: Summer Course. At the University of São Paulo the association can use the facilities of the university to hold the event which brings together over 700 persons, between participants, speakers and staff of the various services.

The content is varied, depending on notable events or social situations that demand further reflection; there is always a block of themes for three years. In 2013 the 26th Summer Course with the theme: Digital Networks – Weaving relations, building communi-ties, exercising citizenship – "dealt in a critical and positive way with the challenge of the fascinating world of social networks and their personal, political, social and religious possibilities, something that is probably the major cultural revolution of our human history" to quote Padre Oscar Beozzo, general coordinator of the CESEEP. The Summer Course is based on three aspects, pillars that support its aims: Ecumenism - Mutualism – Education for the People. 
 
Its structure consists of a group of about 120 persons, volunteers, from various States of Brazil. They have three meetings during the year at which they receive training for monitoring the work in the groups, which consist of 20 to 30 students. The event always takes place in January, which is summer in Brazil. There are two parts: the first is the reception of the participants with a time of prayer and then there are speakers who enrich the event with talks that introduce themes that are very relevant to the subject that has been chosen. 
 
During the second part, in the rooms of the PUC university, the participants are divided into groups where they carry out creative and transformative activities. It is in this setting that the talks given earlier are discussed, where there are friendly exchanges, sharing of knowledge, mutual enrichment and a moment of celebration, culminating in a collective commitment at the end of the week. Alongside the participants four volunteers in each group are responsible for seeing to the smooth running of the activities in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere, marked by art. A band consisting of volunteers enlivens the days during the Summer Course. 
 
Testimony by Edijane: "For me, participating in the Summer Course broadened my view of the world. On the face of each participant I could see joy, receptiveness, hope etc. I am certain that the Summer Course is communicable, it enlivens, has a multiplier effect, and one of the goals I have set myself is to pass on all that I have learnt: – Weaving relations, building communities, exercising citizenship." 
 
For the past fifteen years I have been part of this big mutual assistance movement as a volunteer. I can see the richness of the Curso process with its progress in the formation of critical awareness and commitment among the students, the majority of whom are young (60 to 70%). 
 
Ha Olga - Lima
24/04/2013
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