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Professor in Rio's Public School System Uses Music to Calm Children in the Midst of Shoot-Outs in an Area Beset by Drug Trafficking

06/08/2017 - 12h06

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Roberto Ferreira, 56, is a public-school teacher in a municipal school in Paciência, in Rio's western zone, where drug traffickers and militia members operate.

Last month, during a shoot-out taking place outside the school, he gathered students from the school together and started playing and singing to them.

A video of the scene went viral after the Secretary of Education posted it on the internet.

See parts of his interview with Luiza Franco.

"I think I am a mediator between two different worlds. Through music, my students get to know a universe beyond the one that they see, which is full of violence.

On that day, everything happened unexpectedly. We were in class when an intense shoot-out started. As this happens, the kids start to panic. At that point, I take the kinds out of the classroom in order to get more protection, take them into the hallway, and announce: 'Lets sing!' So, we start singing to distract ourselves.

Ricardo Borges/Folhapress
The public-school teacher Roberto Ferreira
The public-school teacher Roberto Ferreira

On that day, we sang a song of mine, 'Hope Child'. They love it. The refrain is like this: 'To sprout from my chest / Inside of my heart / lots of joy, a thousand fantasies, peace and more understanding / Music, gifts and colors / Dreams of a better world / Strong child, Hope child / Faith raises your spirit'.

The closer and louder the noise got, the stronger I played.

Ever since the video went public, I have been giving lots of interviews. A taxi driver said to me: 'You are a multiplier'. I liked it. I think I am."

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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