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Home Actions and projects Projects Structural improvements in "San Jose Infant School".

Structural improvements in "San Jose Infant School".

Situated in Brazil, in the neighbourhood of Säo Bernardo in the northern suburbs of Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais. Currently it caters for 146 children aged between 2 and 6 years of age.

The building which houses the Social and Education Centre of the Society of Mary, denominated "Instituto Infantil San Jose" (San Jose Infant School) is very old. 

It has been extended over the years to cater for the increasing demand in the pre-school population.  These extensions were carried out without a previously defined project and without professional specialist support. 

In 2015 the Prefecture of Belo Horizonte stopped financing San Jose Infant School.  We have reduced the scaling of improvement works in the centre to current legislation, which should finalise in December 2016. 

But we urgently need funds to be able to finalise this work within the established time-frame.


The lack of funds will endanger the renewal of the building permit and this would paralyse the activities of the school and represent a serious blow to the families that depend on it. 


In the 1930s the demographic growth of the central region in Belo Horizonte resulted in the birth of new neighbourhoods inhabited by working-class people. 

In the 1950s the break in the dam-wall forced the eviction of inhabitants in the region which meant they resorted to the unauthorised occupation of suburban terrain. 

At the present time 60% of these families continue to live in these suburbs, in precarious housing conditions.  According to the 2010 census carried out by IBGE, Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, Säo Bernardo region had 9,090 inhabitants with a very low average standard of living.

The San Jose Infant School takes in children from various neighbourhoods of Säo Bernardo.

Parts of these neighbourhoods house very poor families. Vila Aeroporto and Vila Sao Pedro are considered shanty towns, totally lacking in infrastructure.  The gutters flow into a river that winds between the two neighbourhoods and frequently overflows causing the outbreak of infectious diseases.

Many wooden shacks have been built along the river.  In other neighbourhoods the town planning has progressed, but even so, the majority of families continue to be very poor.



In general, the children who attend the school live only with their mother.  The scarcity of jobs and the lack of qualifications complicate their employability and access to the better paid jobs. In addition, the consumption of drugs is continuously on the risk among young people.


The finalisation of the building project in compliance with current legislation is essential in order to be able to offer quality education to these children at pre-school age, and a space that allows them to develop fully. 

The school aims to promote and preserve the cultural aspects inherent in the origins of each migrant family.

Similarly, it underlines the importance of values with the aim of helping them to understand what is right and what is expected at each age range.  The instructors are specialised in infant education and are trained to work with children under the coordination of a specialist in pedagogy who supervises the whole learning process of the children and meets with the instructors once a week.

The management of San Jose School is the responsibility of the Sisters of the Society of Mary.  A pedagogical training meeting is held once a month in which the different aspects of the Society's precepts are applied.

It is a wonderful School that must not disintegrate!