Milu Villela designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Inclusive EducationUNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura will appoint Maria Lourdes Egydio Villela (Milu Villela) as Goodwill Ambassador for Inclusive Education during a ceremony in the Brazilian capital today.
Ms Villela is being designated “in recognition of her outstanding commitment to education and her attachment to the ideals and aims” of UNESCO.
She is especially well-known throughout Brazil for her work with volunteer movements and youth. In 1994 she established Despertar (Wake Up), a community association offering technical and vocational courses for teenagers. Despertar also offers medical and psychological help and provides an income generation programme for adults which brings direct benefits to some 7,000 people every year.
In 1997, she founded the Sao Paulo Centre for Volunteers (CVSP), to encourage and train people to dedicate their time and talent for social improvement. Over the past three years, more than 50,000 volunteers have participated in the Centre`s activities.
In 2001, she coordinated the United Nations International Year of Volunteers in Brazil, and currently heads Faca Parte (Be Part of It), a non-governmental organization encouraging volunteer work, especially among young people, for the benefit of schools througout the country.
As Goodwill Ambassador for Inclusive Education, Ms Villela will champion the right to education for persons with disabilities. In this role, she will work to mobilise resources and to raise awareness of the importance of this programme, which was established to ensure the right to education for such persons, and to provide access to and promote completion of quality education for every child, youth and adult with a disability.
Brazil has two other UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, the football legend Pele and arts patron, Lily Marinho.