Claudia Vidigal

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2010
Associação Fazendo História


This profile was prepared when Claudia Vidigal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
After volunteering as a psychologist in Brazil’s child shelter system—temporary housing establishments for kids whose families cannot take care of them—Claudia was alarmed by the lack of attention paid to individualized care and its affects on children. She therefore decided to introduce a simple methodology into shelters throughout Brazil to recover these children’s life stories through regular, in depth interactions with the shelters’ childcare workers and volunteers.

Claudia founded the Instituto Fazendo História (IFH—Making History Institute) in 2005, in order to demonstrate to children housed in shelters that their personal stories are valuable and that they are allowed to, and encourage to dream. She is thus helping them create new life paths, as autonomous and self-confident citizens.

Through the introduction of this simple approach to individualized childcare, Claudia is transforming the way shelter staff and volunteers interact with children and adolescents. In addition, she is organizing shelters into a network of learning practitioners who now understand the need to consider the personal and family histories of the kids they work with, as a way to improve their daily interactions with them, but most importantly, to help them develop as active citizens.

In 2009 alone, the IFH worked with 65 shelters, attending to the needs of more than 1,400 children (directly and indirectly), training approximately 785 childcare professionals and engaging more than 400 long-term volunteers. Claudia began her work in the state of Sao Paulo and has begun to spread to Maranhão, Paraná, Pará, and Ceará. She has already systematized her methodology in order to replicate it in other regions of Brazil. Claudia has also begun to work with the justice system to introduce the children’s stories in their court cases, as a sensible way to give them a voice.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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