The aim of this article is to present circumstances of South american schools functioning in disadvantaged societies on the examples of brazil and peru. Those local societies have been struggling with social and educational poverty, illiteracy, ethnic conflicts, pressures connected with gangs’ activities, etc. in many cases they try to solve their problems on the basis of school which is the center of social activity. These issues are little known in poland and only from literature and journalistic writing what has created their stereotyped image. Meanwhile, you cannot overestimate pedagogical implications of this phenomenon.
The expectations of South american local societies are in many cases not the same as the expectations of school defined by creators and administrators of the education system. Pressures and conflicts usually are caused by discrepancy between the activities of the central institutions and the needs (expectations) of different ethnic groups, clans, families and individuals. Students speaking dialects or the languages of ethnic minorities, normally experiencing domestic violence and forced to work on the border of law, are regarded by the education system as the others/aliens. in such a situation the assistance comes from volunteers and professional educators working for non-governmental organizations. Many of them refer to the ideas taken from Freire’s ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’. he was convinced that a man will never be free alone and his hope of freedom lies in education realized in cooperation with the others. The condition of liberating the oppressed individuals and groups from treating themselves as inferior, powerless, dependent on the others’ support ( which is typical for disadvantaged communities) is, according to paulo Freire, obtaining a new level of awareness through, among others, participating in educational projects based on the idea of social dialogue and creating the feeling of independence, elf-responsibility and co-responsibility for their own community.
In reflection, which is the basis of the above article, i am trying to answer the following question: in what circumstances a school can be a place of social dialogue and fulfilment of basic expectations of disadvantaged communities members? i assume that even in such exotic societies as Latin american countries you can find a lot of inspiration for solving problems similar to those encountered in poland.