Who are we

General Director:

Maria Cecilia Lins

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Maria Cecilia graduated in Psychology at PUC-RJ. She started her career teaching in private networks, but the work that most touched her was the research of the Rocinha (favela) kindergartens while she was still an undergraduate student. The meaning of social inequalities really shook her to the core. Maria moved to São Paulo in 2001, where she started studying a post-graduation in Literacy. There she met Madalena Freire, daughter of the pedagogue Paulo Freire, and she fell in love with his methodology. In 2003 she founded Pró-Saber SP, in the community of Paraisópolis. She has since then been working on a daily basis living by the quote of Mário Quintana: ”Democracy means giving everybody the same starting point”.

Pedagogical coordination:

Denise Nalini

She has now been part of the team at Pró-Saber SP for 5 years. Denise holds a PhD certificate at the faculty of education, as well as a masters in History and Filosophy of Education, all from the same University, USP. She coaches through Instituto Avisa Lá and is a professor for a post-graduation at Instituto Singularidades. For Denise the difference from a NGO is that: ”Pró-Saber SP brings a work perspective that includes literacy education together with playing which helps the community to enjoy their given rights”, besides that ”Pró-Saber SP educates and welcomes children, teenagers and families thus investing in the continuous training of community teachers “

Lia Olival

Living in São Paulo since the age of 18 years when she decided to come here and study Engineering. Lia has worked with teaching children for 18 years at the Lourenco Castanho school. She has been with Pró-Saber SP for 8 years. Lia is currently managing our community library as well as assisting with the pedagogical coordination. She is passionate about children and books.

Fernanda Renner

Graduada em Pedagogia, pós-graduada no Centro de Estudos da Vila, em Alfabetização, trabalhou em escolares particulares em Florianópolis/SC. Em 2003, mudou-se para São Paulo e foi professora na Escola da Vila por 6 anos. Em 2010, passou a se dedicar integralmente a projetos de educação vinculados ao Pró-Saber SP, como professora alfabetizadora. Atualmente coordena o programa Espaço de Protagonismo Social, para adolescentes de 12 a 17 anos


Luciana Legey

Graduated in Law at PUC-RJ, later searching for her true calling of working with health, she obtained a graduation in Psychology and deepened her knowledge in Lacanian Psychoanalysis. ”I believe in the voice of the children, that it should always be considered a right during any kind of circumstances”.

Consulting Board

Eleonora Antici de Souza

Consulting Board

Marcos bandeira de Mello

Consulting Board

Guilherme Amaral Ferra

Consulting Board

Claudia de Freitas Vidigal

Consulting Board

Supervisory  board

Renata Biselli

supervisory board

Marcello de Simone


Augusto Barbosa Estellita Lins


Professor of educational projects

Cristiane Mendes da Silva

She began her professional career as an assistant at a kindergarten. Later she graduated in Pedagogy and did a post-graduation in Literacy. Christiane has been working at Pró-Saber SP for 6 years and you rarely see her outside of the class-room. ”Here occurs the real work of constructivism and we reflect on our learnings. Making a mistake is always welcome as it an important part of the process”, she says.

Luana Andrade

She has been working at Pró-Saber SP for 3 years. Luana was a student at the NGO Casa da Amizade, where she got interested in Education. She later worked in public and private school systems and specifically on a project about reading and writing in a kindergarten. Luana focuses on working with stimulating the autonomy of teenagers.

Luiz Felipe Penna

Studied litterature and Physical Education. Specialized in Playful Education and has experience in teaching children and teenagers. Developed workshops in games and play such as the projects: Sabores e Saberes, Cine Pró-Saber SP, Diálogos Culturais, Projecto Recreio, to mention a few. He is also a professor at the school of Vera Cruz, where he created the project Entrelaços, in which students from Vera Crus and Pró-Saber SP came together to realize the activates in partnership.

Marili Macruz

She educated herself in Music and Arts Education, and later mastered in Musicology at USP. At Pró-Saber SP, she developed musical classes for beginners, working with quite a diverse and predominantly Brazilian repertoire.

Paulo Gonçalves Sobrinho

He graduated in Brazilian Music and has since 2004 been studying percussion at the Souza Lima Conservatory. He has played in the orchestra of Berimbaus do Morro do Querosene and worked with preparing musicals at CIA Balagam Theatre. He has been working at Pró-Saber SP for 5 years giving percussion classes and teaching our own school band, Tocando a Real. He also gives lectures at Redonda School and at Oca Cultural.

Karina Alves


Patrícia Mandes



Samuel Tomaz


General Services

Heliane Ferreira

She has been working at Pró-Saber SP for 8 years making sure that the facility is always ready to receive students. Heliane has experience working as caregiver of children and a nanny. She loves books and considers the Community Library at Pró-Saber SP as a very important space for Paraisópolis.

Marlene Lopes

Born in Paraisópolis, her famliy was one of the first to reside in the community. Marlene has been working at Pró-Saber SP for 6 years, and before she joined our team she was a mom of a student and helped taking care of the smaller children as a volunteer. Today she puts her energies in maintaining a nice environment. Considering that Pró-Saber SP is a space where ”the team shows great affection for their students”.

Financial Manager

Erika Pavani

Financial manage.


Cristiane Oliveira

She takes care of the meals at Pró-Saber SP where she has been for 5 years. Christiane also facilitates educational culinary activities for students and educators. For her, what makes the work of Pró-Saber Sp stand out is: ”the quality of classes and all the love that teachers and educators have for the students and the team”.

Rosana de Lima

She has been with us here at Pró-Saber SP for one year now. Rosana works in the kitchen and leads the culinary activities, it’s easy to notice her love for cooking. She likes working here mainly because: ”the priority of the children always comes first. People here acts with their hearts”.


Betania Lopes de Freitas

Born and raised in Paraisópolis. Betania has worked with Pró-Saber SP as a secretary for 4 years and she is passionate about interpersonal relationships.

Community Facilitator

Márcia Félix

She has lived in Paraisópolis since birth. Márcia has been with Pró-Saber SP for 10 years working as a community mediator paying home visits to keep in touch with the network. She is also our Bazar coordinator, organizing the volunteers and received donations. Márcia has a lot of experience from early childhood education, she even ran a smaller school. She takes great pleasure in seeing the interaction between the children, families and the community.

Institutional Development

Nathalia Gonçalves

She holds a degree in Social Sciences from the federal University of São Carlos and has been working with institutional development at Pró-Saber SP since 2014. Nathalia is also a virtual tutor in the discipline Sociology of Education, which is a part of the Educations course offered at UFSCar. She has worked as a volunteer at the Fazendo Historia Institute, Association Morungaba, project Vida Corrida and ABCR Núcleo São Paulo. She believes that reading can transform realities.

Our Community

We depend a lot on the people from the community around us so that our work can continuously evolve, and the projects and activities that we create are most often further developed by them. Read below what has been done:

Shared breaks with other schools from the community

During the second half of 2014, Pró-Saber SP organized, together with the Public School Miguel Arraes, shared breaks with the purpose of promoting a suitable play area for all the students. One of the pillars of our methodology is the promotion of playing as an important tool in the process of learning.

Participation in the monthly meetings by the Forum of Multientidades in Paraisópolis

Founded in 1994 the Forum of Multientidades in Paraisópolis is a network of different institutions such as schools, NGO’s and social facilities in the neighbourhood. We attend the monthly meetings of the Forum in order to deepen our relationships with the different community actors and improve our actions to strengthen the network and the development of the region.

Participation in a Cultural Show at CEU Paraisópolis

In the eight participation of Pró-Saber SP in the Cultural Show the theme was ”Paraisopolis: Sing your village to the world”. The children participated by making mediations and readings together with a choir who performed with songs they had practiced all year. The band Tocando a Real also presented their repertoire of rhythms of Brazilian music.

Participation in a talent show of the Einstein program

Our students made a presentation at The Community Talent Show with their storytelling group. Find out more: saraudeparaisopolis.blogspot.com.br

Partnership with the direction and professors of EMEF Prof. Paulo Freire through monthly educational meetings and gatherings.

With several meetings throughout the year, our encounters with the partnership schools sought to clarify and differentiate the role of Pró-Saber SP and the schools, making sure that our actions are complementary. A part from that we keep exchanging learning experiences between the students we have in common.


Magazine Revista Avisa Lá, #60, November 2014, pag 23-29


We receive donations from friends and partners and then sell the products at affordable prizes at our Bazar that is open to the residents of the community. All the profit is reinvested in our educational programs.

Collaboration with CISV

In July 2014, the teenagers from the group Tocando a Real participated in a youth meeting of CISV. In this gathering, besides from the rich exchange of experiences, one of our students Rafael Silva, was offered to participate in a student exchange in Spain the following year. This specific meeting also became the starting point for Dutch students from CISV to come and get to know Paraisópolis and participate in the creation of graffiti in our block.

Get to know the Pró-Saber SP, welcome!