i-genius member Hernane Prates explains how music has the potential to help deprived children in Brazil, and what being a social entrepreneur means to him. Thanks to i-genius member Carla Jones for her help with translations!
Editor: Can you explain in more detail what your school does?
Hernane: Our music school is a project that aims to give poor children the chance of a better life. We don’t work at this school with simply the music, but the music is the key to the children. There are a lot of things that we use to promote change in these children. We have voluntary teachers for music in our school, which will open in June.
Editor: How can music improve the lives of children in Brazil?
Hernane: We believe that music is a way in which we can promote life changes in these children. Why this? Why music? Because the musical culture here in Brazil has arisen from our ‘blood’. But the access to education in general in Brazil, and to music specifically, is very limited, and when it does exist, it is of very poor quality. It is very difficult for the children who come from poor quarters, so they leave to drugs and crime, which has become a fact of life here. So from the moment we give these children the chance to learn music ‘that they love so much’, they begin to feel valued, which bridges the gap between their limited access to social education and another series of factors that promotes the changes in their lives. This is out objective, and we are really proud about this!
Editor: What are the major difficulties for young people living in Brazil?
Hernane: The greatest difficulties for young people living here is the limited opportunities for jobs and for studying at university, because the public universities are filled with young people who come from rich families. They study in good schools when they are children, so that they are able to enter the public universities. The opposite happens with the young people who come from poor families, who make up the majority here, and private university is very expensive, so that these young people don’t have the faintest chance of entering unversity, and so they cannot get a job. And what is the alternative? Crime and drugs…!
Editor: What are your hopes for the future, both for your school and for your country?
Hernane: I hope through this school we will reach our objective, to see these children with a new life! We know it’s very difficult to start a project like this, but if you want to do something, you find a way, if you don’t, you just find excuses! We want to do this because we are tired of waiting, we want to do this now. We also hope to expand this work to all “Sertão Brasileiro” and others place like it, África is a future target! I hope my country develops and begins to look at the needs of the people that they have forgotten, whose lives they are suffocating. Meanwhile, I’m trying to play my part!
Editor: What does being a ‘social entrepreneur’ mean to you?
Hernane: A “Social Entrepreneur” is someone who focuses their efforts on social projects with the objective of helping a particular community. He searches for resources, partnerships, sponsorship, and for a way to start his project functioning.