As part of the first National Landless Kids' Meeting, which is taking place in Brasília, Brazil, 1,200 children took a playful and cultural tour around the Three Powers Plaza. The kids handed in a manifesto to the Ministry of Education, denouncing the poor conditions of rural schools.
The manifesto was written in a two-year collective effort and the final draft was approved in the beginning of the Meeting. The children address the problems they face to have their right to education respected.
“We fight for our rights that are not being respected: our roads are bad and bumpy; school vehicles are constantly breaking and dusty; a lot of schools are being shut down and others are far from our homes; we don’t have enough school supply and books to read. Rural schools have to have better conditions. (...) School meals need to be better and include more products grown in agrarian reform communities and peasant family farms,” the text reads.
Márcia Ramos, a member of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) National Coordination and one of the grown-ups helping the kids organize the Meeting, says the children’s mobilization is extremely symbolic in Brazil’s current political climate.
“The manifesto represents what children experience on Agrarian Reform settlements and camps in Brazil. Especially right now, with the coup, we have to show that everyone has the right to express themselves, including children. This is also a way to counter extreme conservatism and projects that point to setbacks, such as the Escola Sem Partido [“Non-partisan School,” a conservative movement that is pushing bills all over the country to curb political debate and freedom of speech in schools], rural school shutdowns, and the attacks by the agribusiness,” she said.
Read the full manifesto below:
LANDLESS KIDS’ MANIFESTO
Who are you, then? Landless Kids once again!
What’s in store? Victory and nothing more!
Will this wave catch on? The wave has caught on!
To say it out loud: Landless Kids are around!
We, Landless Kids, are holding our 1st National Meeting in Brasília, from July 23rd to 26th, 2018. We are very happy!!!
Since 1994, every year, we hold the National Landless Kids’ Demonstrations in our home states. For some time now, we have been planning this Meeting, speaking with a lot of children about how life is in our settlements and camps. We play, shout, sing, study, and also struggle. This is why we came to this Meeting chanting: “Landless Kids in Movement: to play, smile, fight for a People’s Agrarian Reform!”
The Meeting is a space for us to get to know a lot of Landless kids and children of other rural and urban people’s movements from Brazil and other countries. We’ve learned about the history of children’s struggle in Palestine, Syria, Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela. We want all children in Brazil and the world to be happy and free, so they can fly kites, play soccer, sing and dance in circle, and study.
We wrote this Landless Kids’ Manifesto so, together with other children, we can fight for our rights and grow in a world with no social inequality, where we can be happy.
WE ARE LANDLESS KIDS!
I’m a Landless Kid with the MST,
I wake up every day to fight, you’ll see!
We are Landless Kids with the MST [Landless Workers’ Movement]! We are the sons and daughters of Landless families, we live in camps and Agrarian Reform settlements. Together with our parents, we occupy land so we can have food, a home to live, and a place to play and be happy.
We help our families working on the farm and taking care of animals. We like to eat the food we grow. We want healthy food in rural schools, with quality meals. We like to live and sleep on the farm!
We take part in activities, struggles, and meetings, and we study the countryside.
Being a Landless kid is pretty cool! We play at the Ciranda Infantil [dedicated educational spaces designed by the MST], bathe in the river, fly kites, jump rope, play hide-and-seek, tag, soccer, donas da rua [an outdoor game where a kid stands in the middle of the street and tries to catch the other players as they run to cross the street], and even marbles. We like nature, watching the sky, playing with clouds, feeling the wind. We like to learn about how seeds sprout from the earth, how seedlings grow, how the earth can be so beautiful and give us delicious foods.
For all that, we organized our 1st National Meeting to say we have the right to live well. And we are going to fight for our rights, with our parents, with the MST, and other children from Brazil and the around the world.
WE FIGHT TO BE HAPPY!
Being a kid is being happy
To be happy we have to play
To play we have to smile
to smile we have to fight!
We fight for land and a People’s Agrarian Reform, which means sharing the land so that families can have access to education and health and grow healthy foods. We grow food in organic, agroecological, and even agroforestry systems on our settlements and camps, with a lot of beautiful things to see and eat. We grow many different delicious foods with no chemicals: bananas, beans, manioc, watermelon, rice, sugarcane, vegetables, etc.
We are learning to preserve the environment and better manage our waste, and we will take care of the woods, forests, and our settlements and camps.
The Agrarian Reform hasn’t been put in place the way it has to be, but we will help to do that!
There must be better life conditions for us in the countryside and in the city. We want the children in the city to eat food with no chemicals as well!
We fight for our rights that are not being respected: our roads are bad and bumpy; school vehicles are constantly breaking and dusty; a lot of schools are being shut down and others are far from our homes; we don’t have enough school supply and books to read.
Rural schools have to have better conditions. We want gyms, cafeterias, and playgrounds, and courtyards big enough for us to play. School meals need to be better and include more products grown in agrarian reform communities and family farms.
We want our schools to be pretty and nice, to have gardens, Spanish classes, libraries, music, dance, drama, drawing, painting classes, to be safe and appropriate places to study. We want to watch movies and take trips to see other places, other artwork, other people. We fight to have an education that is part of the rural life, one that respects us as children and respects the people from the countryside and the city.
We fight against discrimination and disrespect to people, and for equal rights.
With our parents and the Movement, we fight for school; decent housing; cooperatives; access to lighting, clean water, and sewer; health-care facilities that also offer natural treatments; school transport. We want all that so that everyone can enjoy a decent life.
We fight for land, school, health, and education. We do not give up these rights!
LANDLESS KIDS IN MOVEMENT:
TO PLAY, SMILE, FIGHT FOR A PEOPLE’S AGRARIAN REFORM!
Edited by: Diego Sartorato | Translated by Aline Scátola