Close daily co-existence in the shelters makes the activity of teaching and of educating naturally blend in the individuals with these qualities.

The group condition that the hundreds of families of sheltered people experience in the shelters for Venezuelan refugees, including numerous children and adults of different cultural backgrounds, is awakening in some individuals of the very sheltered community a new task: that of transmitting knowledge.

Although the difference between teaching and educating is evident, and though the classes are in appropriate rooms at determined hours, the mingling between those involved is complete. Students and teachers meet often, with the resulting mutual exchange of constant respect and learning.


The roles of teacher and of educator

The differences between a teacher and an educator may be increasingly small nowadays, due to the countless methods that are being employed in the innovating schools. For example, Montessori Didactics, Waldorf School, among other non-conventional teaching methods, have  inspired many teachers to adopt more humanitarian methodologies.

A teacher, according to the Dicio Online, is “the individual that teaches, imparts subjects, contents, (…). The one whose specialization or academic background is to teach”. To educate, according to the same dictionary, is “to offer someone what is necessary for this person to manage to fully develop their personality. To try to attain a high level of moral, spiritual development (…)”. (Our translation from Portuguese)
Thus, we can understand that a teacher would be the one who teaches at schools, whereas the educator teaches in life, in family. An educator teacher has been the ideal for many seekers of an integral formation of the human being.

The report of an educator teacher

“The experience of living, although temporarily, in a context that is totally different from the one in which I have always lived”, tells us the teacher Omeris. “Where everyone is together, whole families, relatives, friends, unknown people, many children, and everyone in need of everything you can imagine”, she vented. “The project of education came in the right time. It came to bring interaction between parents and children, parents with parents, children with children, among all this community of sheltered people.

In the mornings, in the afternoons, if it is Monday, Saturday or even Sunday, regardless of the week day, or the time, Omeris and her daughter – also a teacher – in the quietude of their “carpa” (tent, in Spanish) have already gotten used to the frequent calls: “Teacher, is it time for class?”, “Teacher, is the class going to begin?”, “Teacher!”. The children, unaccustomed to schedules, or still not introduced to the life of appointments, yearn for the group moments filled with attention, novelty and learning.

“Parents, families begin to feel more secure again, for now there is a temporal reference, a frequent event with hours and chores, as if they were the margins of a river that guides and gives security to the waters”, states the teacher, enthusiastic and full of hope.

“Every day we feel the importance of being inserted in this big community that the Shelter Nova Canaã has become”, says Omeris. “Every now and then, comes a mother telling me how her child is learning and already teaching: ‘Mother, have you washed your hands?’;  ‘Father, the teacher said we always need to brush our teeth after eating’. And all this is gratifying and encouraging.

 “In this condition in which we live, I am having a great learning, perhaps the greatest learning in my whole life so far: to be a teacher is not just to teach what the school has as content in its syllabus, but rather it is a mission, it is at least to be really present in the life of the student as if they were our own child”, she reflects, touched.

The teacher Omeris, who timidly got involved with the community collaborating without expectations, and soon saw herself in the organization of the educational service, is an example of spontaneous leadership that emerges when the group is ready.

The Shelter Nova Canaã

The Shelter Nova Canaã is serving as a place of temporary lodging for Venezuelan families with children. All of them coming from extreme difficulties in their country, they seek physical and emotional support to get settled and give a sequence to their lives.

The Educational Project recently offered by Fraternidade – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF) and institutional partners is in a stage of adaptation, for the teaching staff has continuously been in reformulation, due to the conditions of volunteering and internalization of the Venezuelans.


Shelter Nova Canaã
houses Venezuelan families with children
Classes for children and adults in various hours
Qualification course for teachers in the shelter