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Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Cynthia Shahan


Escolas de Bicicletas — Bicycle Schools in Sao Paulo — Light Up Kids’ Lives

August 31st, 2012 by  

“Bicycle empowerment, indeed.”

Copenhagenize Consulting and the Education Department of Sao Paulo’s Escolas de Bicicletas (Bicycle Schools) program makes the community stronger with bamboo and local employment.

bicycle schools bicycle parts

“The Escolas de Bicicletas programme… involves the production of 4600 bamboo bicycles for the children. A world unto itself in the project, far removed from the development of the curriculum, training the educators and monitors and collaborating with 46 schools.”

Like Bamboo, which used as a nutritional supplement is an Ayurvedic herb to support healthy bone growth, bamboo bicycles are insuring planetary health. “In convoys from their local community and participating in the curriculum about bicycle culture and history,” children on bamboo bikes will experience pragmatic educational expansion in this program.

One thing that is significant to the work of this is that the locals are the workforce.

“True to the nature of the project and the spirit inherent in it, the people who are working to construct and assemble the bicycles are locals from the surrounding community,” Copenhagenize writes.

Flavio, a Brazilian designer, has his own brand, Bambucicletas, which is “up and running in Brazil and South America, with plans to expand into Europe.”

Here’s more from Copenhagenize on how the project started and what its goals are:

In July 2011, Copenhagenize was invited by the City of Sao Paulo to speak about Copenhagenize Consulting’s Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling. On that visit we had the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of Education for the city – Alexandre Schneider and his advisor Daniel Guth, who is the coordinator for the project. The Education Secretariat is responsible for the education of 1.2 million children in Sao Paulo. We pitched them the idea of placing bicycles in their schools as a way for the Education Secretariat to be the ‘missing link’ for childrens’ relationship to the bicycle. Most of them still learn to ride but their options for continuing to do so are limited because of lack of safe infrastructure and the explosive and continuing growth of car culture.

We’re moving full steam ahead towards planting the fertile seeds of bicycle culture in the hearts and minds of not only the children but the communities around the schools. The Education Secretariat is collaborating with the NGO Parada Vital, who have a team that will run the project. Copenhagenize Consulting, based on our original proposal, are senior consultants.

The project – Escolas de Bicicleta or ‘Bicycle Schools’ – is huge. It revolves around the 46 CEUs in the city. These CEUs – Centros de Educação Unificados – are extraordinary in their own right. Schools for 0-14 year olds but also comprehensive community centres for the surrounding neighbourhoods with amazing facilities for the children and everyone else. Swimming pools, theatres, sports facilities, computer facilties for the locals, you name it. They are the centre of cultural activity in the communities and draw people from all classes to gather under one umbrella, as it were. They are often impressive architecturally and rise up proudly at the heart of the communities in which they are placed.


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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) That lead to her awareness that she was more of intuitive perceptive thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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