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Schools in the Forest: How Grassroots Education Brought Political Empowerment to the Brazilian Amazon

Denis Lynn Daly Heyck
Schools in the Forest: How Grassroots Education Brought Political Empowerment to the Brazilian Amazon
ISBN: 978-1-56549-351-3
ISBN: 978-1-56549-350-6
2010/179 pages/LC: 2010011070
A Kumarian Press Book
"The reflections and insights by people who played significant roles in Projeto Seringueiro bring it to life for the reader, and inspire awe at the magnitude of what was accomplished.... Schools in the Forest reminds one of the potentially empowering effects of education for individuals and communities."—ForeWord

"The interviews provide a rich source of details on the development of the project, its internal politics and fights, and the strengths of and challenges to the team."—Human Ecology Journal

"A well-written, accessible, and inspiring book. Its wealth of interview material, carefully framed within the economic, political, and intellectual history of the past three decades, provides a uniquely detailed grassroots perspective on the empowerment that can come with innovative educational programs."—Marianne Schmink, University of Florida

"Heyck takes readers on an exhilarating and inspiring journey into the Brazilian rainforest with the grassroots activists and teachers who have helped transform Acre through their courageous work."—Linda Rabben, author of Brazil's Indians and the Onslaught of Civilization


Drawing on the experience of  Projecto Seringueiro (Project Rubber Tapper), Denis Heyck reveals how a radical education experiment designed simply to bring literacy to rubber tappers in the Amazon rainforests helped the members of a threatened community to claim their political rights and preserve their cultural heritage in the face of ferocious opposition. The rubber tappers' story shows that grassroots communities can organize, form alliances, and advocate on their own behalf—and that in the trajectory of empowerment, no tool is more important than that of education.


Denis Lynn Daly Heyck is professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Chicago. Her publications include Surviving Globalization in Three Latin American Communities.


  • Acre: Land, People, and Struggle.
  • Lantern in the Forest: Origins, Influences and Early Years of Project Seringueiro.
  • Disarray, Renewal and Absorption.
  • Points of Light.
  • Reformers.
  • From Projeto Seringueiro to Rural and Indigenous Education.
  • Conclusion.