AMBI – Associação das Famílias Brasileiras na Irlanda

AMBI - Associação das Famílias Brasileiras na Irlanda

We are excited to introduce a new series of blog posts dedicated to Heritage Language Schools in Ireland. These schools play a crucial role in preserving and promoting the diverse linguistic heritage of our communities. Through this series, we aim to shine a spotlight on their work and the inspiring stories behind them.


In this article, the first of our feature series, we hear from Beatriz, the Learning Co-Ordinator at the
Association of Brazilian Families in Ireland (AMBI)

Beatriz became involved with AMBI in early 2022. She was introduced to the project by a friend, the Learning Co-Ordinator at the time. Beatriz strongly believed in the AMBI’s mission and wanted to connect in a deeper way with the Brazilian community in Ireland. When a teaching position became available, she applied for the post and was successful.  

AMBI at Mother Tongues Festival 2024
AMBI at the Mother Tongues Festival. 16-17 February 2024, Tallaght. Photography Victor Mora

The students who attend the school range from 9 months to 12 years old. Currently, there are about 40 children enrolled, divided into eight groups (five in-person, one online). Classes welcome a diverse group of children, some being born in Ireland, others in Brazil along with students from other countries. Some students are fluent in the Portuguese language while others understand just a few words. Beatriz shares that the connection with the Portuguese language, inherited from one or both of their parents, unites all the students adding that the beautiful blend of backgrounds and experiences makes classes enriching for everyone involved. 

The school schedule aligns with the school year in Ireland. It is divided into three terms per year, with 10 classes per term. In-person classes take place on Saturday mornings from 10 am-12 pm. The baby group has shorter classes of 50 minutes. Online classes last about 50 minutes and these are conducted on weekdays.  Additionally, three main traditional events are held throughout the school year to celebrate Brazilian culture (Carnaval, Festa Junina & Dia das Criancas). 

Attending the AMBI school has several benefits according to Beatriz. These include strengthening ties with Brazilian culture, traditions and heritage. She mentions that students foster a sense of identity and belonging. It enhances intercultural awareness and understanding along with being immersed in child-centred learning experiences that celebrate Brazilian cultures and traditions.  Beatriz also mentions that attending the AMBI school promotes communication with family members and the wider Portuguese-speaking community, both locally and globally. 

AMBI at the Mother Tongues Festival. 16-17 February 2024, Tallaght. Photography Victor Mora

Beatriz talks about some lovely memories and sweet moments she has from last year’s summer camp. It was decided to mark the end of the camp with a gift exchange, gifts and cards being made by students and teachers. She was so touched by the thought and effort put in by each student and mentions that she received a lovely friendship bracelet herself. She also adds that a very creative boy made a robot using recycled materials for another teacher and it was such a beautiful moment. 

 

The AMBI school makes a difference as it actively promotes Brazilian culture and language whilst providing a space where children and families can immerse themselves in traditions, language and customs. It also contributes to keeping Portuguese as a heritage language alive in Ireland, maintaining ties to cultural roots and family support networks. Also, projects like “Brazil in Your School” in secondary schools facilitate the integration of both the Brazilian and Irish communities, promoting understanding and appreciation between them. 

Looking to the future, Beatriz shares that the AMBI is excited about the possibility of expanding into more counties across Ireland to create even more projects that can support the Brazilian community.  For now, it’s one step at a time since the association is mostly run by volunteers and has limited funds. However, the determination is present to keep growing and make a difference for the Brazilian community living in Ireland. 

Estes vídeos fazem parte de uma série de vídeos para mostrar às famílias todo o aprendizado que ocorre quando a criança não está na escola. Você pode ajudar seu filho (a) a aprender de várias maneiras. Confira os vídeos para idéias e sugestões de matemática, alfabetização e arte, para descobrir como você e seu filho podem aprender juntos.

Blog series: Heritage Language Schools in Ireland

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