Labyrinths of drug trafficking: the youth’s life involved in illegal activities. Is there exit for them?

foto_AndreaSDHI is hosting the following seminar ‘Labyrinths of drug trafficking: the youth’s life involved in illegal activities.  Is there exit for them?’ which will be led by Dr Andréa Rodriguez a Psychologist from Rio de Janeiro and SDHI Associate.  This FREE seminar will be held in Room 2S14, Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee at 10am on Thursday 19th June.  If you would like to attend, please contact Rosanne Bell r.c.bell

Further information is available on the seminar flyer

Recycling for life – Centro Marista de Inclusão Digital: An Innovative Project from Brazil

The Centro Marista de Inclusão Digital (CMID)

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is based in Santa Marta and supported by the Colegio Marista. Nova Santa Marta is one of 40 barrios in Santa Maria, RS Brazil and most of its inhabitants live below the poverty line. the CMID is an innovative initiative that ‘recycles’ old electronic and computer material and involves children and adolescents in a range of activities, including the refurbishment of computers, digital art, design of robotic equipment and even assistive technologies (e.g. electric wheelchairs).

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The Centre offers instruction in how to reuse materials, engineering, software design and information retrieval and sharing. Pupils learn individually and in teams how to design and use IT products. They acquire skills that are highly sought after in the labour market and they receive certificates of attendance for classes. What they develop does not only work well, it is significantly cheaper than any commercially refurbished product. This in turn benefits those who have limited means and would otherwise never be able to afford computer equipment or certain assistive technologies. The staff at the Centre are supportive, highly engaged and creative. Their initiative pays off in terms of advanced skills in the young generation.

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Reflections on a human tragedy

I am holding in my hand two plastic blossoms with the names of two young men I never had a chance to meet This is the last day of a nursing conference in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. On 27th January this year a devastating fire broke out in the night club Kiss and claimed the lives of over 242 young people and has deeply affected everyone in this town of 270,000.  The colourful blossom in my hand, the hand of an outsider who was invited to partake in the celebration of a life that ended before it could blossom.

This is a city in mourning, everyone is touched by s tragedy that was unforeseeable, sudden, transformative.

It catapulted Santa Maria onto the international evening news around the globe. For all the lives lost, many more have been shattered for ever. Another young person died in Porto Alegre this morning.

A doctor I spoke to said that treating the respiratory effects of smoke inhalation is only one terrible part of the story. The emotional trauma, the anxiety of the young patients who come to see him regularly; the fear to be in a room where the windows are closed is unimaginable. 

Everybody who worked on that fateful night, gave more than they thought was ever possible. Casualties kept pouring into the hospitals, some at a distance of more that 20 kilometres from the city centre. Makeshift beds in the corridors, emergency services, nurses, doctors, ordinary people were joined together. The most fundamental resource that night was the human being. Months after the event, I got a glimpse of this amazing resource in the form of the nurses, the doctors, the students in Santa Maria. Equipment may fail or may not be ready to use but the imagination, creativity resourcefulness of these people will not. They command the most powerful resource there is: love and care.

They hug a lot in Brazil. Perhaps, even more since that fateful night in January in Santa Maria. The comfort that is sought and found in the touch and embrace of another human being does not compare.

So, I attach the plastic flower bearing the name of Joao and David to the tree, think about them, not about their deaths but about how their short lives have touched so many others and how they now travel in my thoughts and heart to places they did not get a chance to see. 

The people I met in Santa Maria carry their hearts on their faces. They may look at you with a laughing and a sad eye, with a spectrum of emotions like the colours of a rainbow in Scotland. But in the end, it is the smile that will find your heart and warm you. 

Personal Reflections from Brazil

I had the great pleasure to travel to Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil in the last week to attend an International Conference and to meet many individuals on this short visit. I have decided to report about some of these experiences on the SDHI site as they reflect what I have learned about the varied social dimensions of health, wellbeing and participation. 

– Thilo Kroll

Providing Health Care to Diverse Communities in Brazil Recorded Lifestream

Camila Biazus Dalcin, a final year nursing student from the Franciscan University Centre (UNIFRA) who visits Dundee as a scholar in the Brazilian ‘Science Without Borders’ Programme (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ) presented a seminar on the 27th June. In her presentation she focused on nursing education and community development and research work in socially and economically diverse communities. Brazil is undergoing profound changes, economically, politically and socially. In 1988 a new healthcare system ‘Unified Health System’ or SUS was formed on the basis of the Brazilian constitution. The new system aims to provide fair and equitable health care to all citizens and introduces a shift in emphasis from treatment towards prevention. Health and wellbeing are regarded as community, not individual issues. The focus on delivering care in the community requires involving the population in the health promotion and is supported by a diverse group of health professionals.

The presentation was also a trial run of SDHI’s new lifestream (‘SDHI TV’). A sequence of the presentation is available here as a recording provided by UStream. For a better quality recording, please stay tuned, we are working on it.