Promundo Launches Children’s Book on the Prevention of Physical and Degrading Punishments of Children

On May 3rd, Promundo launched the children’s book “Vento no Rosto” (“Wind on my Face” in English), with a debate on the new possibilities of a violence-free education. The book was created by twelve boys and girls, ages 6 to 13 years old, from the community of Maré, who had participated in the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation’s project “Esporte, Cultura e Cidadania” (“Sports, Culture and Citizenship,” in English). The project was developed by Promundo and funded by Save the Children; it aimed at giving a voice to the children to explain their views on how they could be educated without violence. The event brought together the child authors and their parents as well as other professionals working on the topic.

Vanessa Fonseca and Letícia Serafim from Promundo-Brazil spoke about the project’s methodology and the process of constructing the children’s story. One of the project’s participants, João Pedro Gonçalves Freitas, 9 years old, spoke about his experience and what he had learned during the process.

Carlos Zuma, from Instituto Noos, talked about the harms caused by physical punishments in children’s development and self-esteem and changes in the roles of men and women during the course of history, which raise questions about the need to find new forms of educating without violence. “Corporal punishments cause more harm than good, they do not contribute to the education of people. Rather than reflection, they provoke fear,” Carolos said.

Ana Paula Rodrigues, from the Xuxa Meneghel Foundation, spoke about bill 7672, which outlaws the use of corporal and humiliating punishments against children. “Our intention is not to lay the blame on the families, but rather think together about alternatives, what to resort to instead of punishments. Trivialized punishment undermines the child’s self-esteem every day.”

Angélica Gonçalves, mother of João Pedro, said that the event helped her reflect upon the effects of punishments and humiliation on children’s development. She said, “I used to be very open, communicative and creative, just like my son is today, but as I grew up, and as a result of hearing my mother criticize me in a humiliating way all the time; I became introverted.”

The book “Vento no Rosto” is one of Promundo’s efforts to stimulate the debate of education alternatives without resorting to physical and humiliating punishments and will be distributed in community libraries.

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