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Interview Portuguese Spanish    
Year 3 - N° 124 – September 13, 2009

Santo Ângelo, RS (Brazil)


Carolina von Scharten - carolinavonscharten@yahoo.com

Gladis Pedersen de Oliveira:

“Investment in children’s education is needed to enable them to become balanced
and happy adults”


The pedagogue Gladis Pedersen de Oliveira (picture) is the current President of the Spiritist Federation of Rio Grande do Sul. She became spiritist when she read The Spirit's Book in her adolescence. Gladis has been contributing in the spiritist movement, especially in Spiritist Teachings for Children where she coordinates the Project Conte Mais. In the last 5 years she focused on writing the book A Missão e os Missionários (The Mission and The Missionaries), where she talks about the history of Spiritist Teachings for Children and Youth in Brazil, through Cecília Rocha’s work.   

O Consolador: Which activities have you got involved with in the Spiritist Movement?

I have been working as a public speaker. I also collaborate with the centre Sociedade Espírita Paz e Amor and Associação Espírita Paz e Luz, which are both located in Porto Alegre. I am now the President of the Spiritist Federation of Rio Grande do Sul (FERGS). I have also been involved with the management committee of Spiritist Centres and worked in several departments at the Federation.

O Consolador: You are requested for many lectures and seminars, for spiritist workers as well as general public. Which topics do you like to talk about?

I prefer topics involving Education, Family, Reincarnation and Mediumship. 

O Consolador: How was the Collection Conte Mais created by FERGS?  

There was different Spiritist Teaching for Children and Youth working at FERGS between 1980 and 1990. They managed to create an archive of great stories, which illustrated the teachings scheduled for the classes. Some of them are from 1948 onwards, and our idea was to publish a book with these stories. In 2002, Vilma Darde Ruiz was the Spiritist Teaching for Children and Youth Director at FERGS. We got together with Eloína da Silva Lopes, from Bagé, to decide how to publish these stories. Eloína took this precious archive to Bagé. She was going to review all these stories, update it with the language used nowadays and create the first snapshot of the book. Eloína, in Bagé, created a team to help her. Sonia Alcalde was one of them who coordinated a few young people to type it. After 3 months, Eloína phones us and said we could publish 4 books, rather than just one. Each book would be suitable for different age groups and different moral themes. The challenge became bigger than we thought. It is hard enough to publish one book, let alone four!  

In April 2003, we managed to publish the 1st book from the series Conte Mais. It was the first book edited by the FERGS’ Publishing house, which was originally created by Francisco Spinelli 50 years before that date. We printed 1.000 books, which sold out in three months. We then released the 2nd edition of the 1st book. We then published the other volumes gradually. We didn’t have an idea of the impact this project would have in the beginning. 

O Consolador: How is Project Conte Mais going on today? 

We have eight children’s illustrated books printed today. We are in the process of getting two more illustrated just now. We had the great opportunity to see the impact of the Collection at the International Book Fair in São Paulo. We agreed the publication of the Collection Conte Mais in English and in Spanish with EDICEI - Publisher of International Spiritist Council. We have no doubts it is a great educational resource that could be taken to children and youth in different parts of the planet. It awakens the minds and has a positive impact on them. 

O Consolador: Can you please tell us more about your last book A Missão e os Missionários (The Mission and the Missionaries)? You highlight Cecília Rocha’s experience. How accepted has this book been? 

We have desired to write about the history of Spiritist Teachings for Children and Youth in Brazil and Rio Grande do Sul for a long time. I started by going to the National Meetings for Spiritist Teaching for Children and Youth Directors organised by FERGS. We shared this idea them, and said it would be best if each State would write their own facts, but it didn’t work. I then realised Cecília Rocha was the one who worked hard for this. History could be rescued from her and her developed mission. Our biggest advantage was to have her and other collaborations alive, which facilitate us to get access to historical facts. It took us 5 years of work and the feedback has been very positive. 

O Consolador: How important is spiritist teachings for children and youth?  

Jesus showed us how relevant is our work by saying: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. This period is the best one to seed Jesus’ Gospel and the basis of the Spiritist Doctrine in their minds.  

O Consolador: Have you got any significant lesson to relate to us regarding the important of spiritist teachings for children and youth?

We have been involved with spiritist teachings for children and youth since 1969. We now have the opportunity to see how benefit it was for the children and youth who were thought Spiritism. They are now balanced and happy adults who contribute to society. 

O Consolador: How do you see spiritist teachings for children and youth in Rio Grande do Sul and in Brazil? 

We need to invest more in the Spiritist Teachers’ Training by making materials available, offering courses and meetings. The book Currículo para as Escolas de Evangelização (Curriculum for evangelical-doctrinal teaching) from the Brazilian Spiritist Federation (FEB) is a great resource to be used to unify the Brazilian Spiritist Movement. 

O Consolador: How do you see the disclosure of Spiritism?   

We need to invest in disclosing Spiritism with quality and loyalty to the Doctrine. 

O Consolador: What do you say about the responsibility of the spiritists as leaders of Spiritist Institutions? 

The task requires a lot of commitment and responsibility. The spiritist leaders are seen as an example to be followed. They should invest moral and intellectual leadership as Allan Kardec codified at Posthumous Work (1890). 

O Consolador:  Can you please tell us what you have been working on, as the President of the Spiritist Federation of Rio Grande do Sul?

On my first mandate we promoted the administrative reorganization of the Institution. We also changed the rhythym of work at the Publishing house and Distributor Francisco Spinelli. We invested in disclosure of the Doctrine and promotion of a better exchange between the spiritist centres in our State. The biggest challenges in our second mandate are the extension of FERGS’ buiding which has three floors. The new project involves a new building at the back of FERGS with 5 other floors. In 2008, we got a donation of a 25.000 m2 area at the city of Alvorada. We have a project ready for this area, where we plan to create a place for social and educational work. We are also planning to build there a meeting centre for the spiritist movement activities in our State. 

O Consolador: How do you see the challenges our planet is facing, such as sexual violence against children? 

The period of time we live requires good actions. We need to give our contribute to combat the mistakes; the vicious. We can not just sit back and watch had things happen around us. We are responsible for the evil that is connected to our inertia. Pedophiles should be informed against in order to protect our children: an abused child today will be tomorrow’s abusor. 

O Consolador: What has the experience of being an Educator and a Spiritist thought you?  

It has thought me that we should invest more and more in moral and emotional educaiton for children to enable them to become balanced and happy adults. 

O Consolador: What do you say about parents who leave their children’s education to the school and to the teachers? 

Parents who behave this way are mistaken and disrespecting the divine law. They are neglecting their responsibilities as representatives of the divine within their families. Home is the first and fundamental school for the reincarnated spirits, and parents are the first teachers and irreplaceable examples followed.

O Consolador: Can you please give us your final words? 

We, spiritists, need to be more aware of our responsibilities in regards to the improvement of the world we live at. We need to serve as examples of faith, fight, perseverance and leadership in terms of our moral inner reformation.



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O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism