A Brazilian Hero

        Paulo Freire,  one  of  the most important thinkers about education in  this  century,  was born in Recife, a city with serious social problems  in  the north of Brazil . He developed an original system  of  education  to  help  people  to learn, understand and have a critical consciousness to find freedom.

      Life with his family, especially his father who educated him and his brothers with authority and comprehension based on dialog, was  the  first  contact with  this  type  of  communication. The landscape of the region and an early work to help the economy of his family also contributed to his ideas.

      At 20, he had started to study law but he stopped several times for economic reasons. When he finished his studies his career as a lawyer was short. Instead he changed to teaching, working to develop the Literacy of the poor people.

      In 1944 he married Elza, a primary teacher  who contributed  with him discussing  several questions about pedagogy. They had three sons. Her influence in his work must to be considered as well.

      In 1964  he  was  exiled by  the  military  government in Brazil. In  1980 he gained political amnesty. His ideas iwere considered dangerous to the national  security. During the Dictatorship  he was put in jail two times. It was in exile, that he wrote most of his works. He  taught at  Harvard University in the USA and as well worked for the the social development in several countries.

      He died in 1997 at 86 years of age. He left several books,  part of  them written in exile. He was a humanist who gave a little light to improve the political consciousness for the oppressed people all over the world. That achievement will remain forever.

Daniel Andriani     11/08/00