Founded in 2007 in Porto Alegre, Associação Sol Maior is an entity dedicated to the musical education of children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 17 in situations of social vulnerability. At the beginning, when they occupied the Pão dos Pobres institution, they served around 50 students. Today, after two changes, the association works in two places, the Multipalco do Theatro São Pedro and the ACBERGS (Association of Beneficent Nurseries in Rio Grande do Sul), in Bairro Humaitá, thus managing to simultaneously serve 450 students, who receive classes in instrumental music, singing and dancing after school hours.
The initiative is the result of the idealism of the medical psychiatrist Maria Teresa Campos who, driven by her sense of social responsibility, invited engineer César Franarim to start the project. Passionate about music and already dedicated to donating his time to various social projects. Today he is the president of the association, a position held by Maria Teresa until 2019.
Believing in the transformative power of music, the courses encourage group work, ethical values, responsibility, solidarity, citizenship and inclusion, in addition to treating music and dance as sources of joy and happiness. The classes, which take place twice a week, are totally free and the students still receive food, a ticket assistance card, uniforms and educational material. All the instruments used in the learning are also provided by Sol Maior, and they can choose to learn guitar, ukulele, mandolin, keyboard, flute, percussion and drums, choral singing or dance.
In addition to classes, the project also offers a series of extra activities to students, including tours, visits to cultural institutions, theater and music shows and presentations at schools, nursing homes and hospitals. At the end of the year, Sol Maior also gathers around 150 students in a show at Theatro São Pedro, a historic landmark in the city. Even with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the show was maintained, but this time it was performed with a small number of students, without an audience and with YouTube transmission.
The platform was also used during a good part of the year to offer workshops, promote musical meetings and presentations, and thus maintain the engagement and learning of students. Concerned with the restrictions imposed by isolation and the increase in unemployment among the students' family members, Sol Maior promoted the delivery of 28 tons of food, in addition to hygiene and cleaning kits, shoes and blankets, benefiting more than 2700 people.
With all this work, the numbers obtained by the association are impressive. One of the main reasons for pride is the zero evasion rate in the institution. During the years of operation, almost three thousand children and adolescents have already visited the institution. The attendance at the workshops is 95%, the same rate of alumni who are already employed through the Vida post Sol Maior project, which prepares them for the job market. And, based on each student's family and community group, around 11800 people have already benefited indirectly.
To learn more about the work developed by Associação Sol Maior, visit the website www.solmaior.org