Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Abdu Ferraz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Abdu attacks the racial preconceptions present in Brazilian society about African history and culture. Seeing how difficult it was to generate public debate about race and discrimination, Abdu created the Program for Ethnic and Cultural Links (PLEC) to work with children, adolescents, and businesses. Abdu offers after school courses for children and workshops for the reformulation of the educational system to train teachers in African history. With the realization that children spend a majority of their after school hours with their grandparents who baby-sit them while their parents are at work, to complement his efforts in the schools, Abdu also works with these grandparents to teach them about African culture and history that they can share with their grandchildren. Through the grandparents, he is able to enter in the family nucleus and further break the negative stereotypes about African heritage.In addition to his work with children and adolescents, Abdu targets the business sector. Initially, he sought to increase commercial and cultural relations between Africa and Brazil by working with companies interested in the African economy. He also contributed to the increase of Brazilian demand for African products and services, which helped generate wages for African immigrants. Abdu believes that after being exposed to elements of other cultures, it is possible to ease the cultural separation between Africa and Brazil and encourage them to work together to increase their strength in international commerce.