Introducing SACI Network: Solidarity, Support, Communication and Information

Marta Gil
Executive Manager

The SACI Network was named after Saci, a famous trickster of Brazilian folklore. He is Negro, has only one leg, a red cap and is full of joy and mischief. He goes everywhere by means of a whirlwind, which is a fast way of travelling. And we know that, after a whirlwind has passed by nothing remains in the former places: everything is upside down, everything has changed.

Our "Saci" is quite modern: his whirlwind is the Internet, because it reaches almost every place, very fast and changes our lives, our habits, and our work. And although disability cannot be considered as good news, we think it should be dealt with a touch of humour and good temper, besides efficiency and professionalism.

We also use SACI as an abbreviation in Portuguese: "S" stands for solidarity; "A" stands for (Apoio) support; "C" stands for communication and "I" for information. Solidarity and support translate our values and communication and information indicate what we do.

So, the SACI Network deals with Information and Communication about all kinds of disability. It is located at the University of Sao Paulo, one of the biggest public Universities in Brazil. and has several partners: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, National Network of Research and Amankay Institute. Each of these institutions plays a specific role in the Network's architecture.

Establishing this network may be considered a pioneering initiative here in Brazil: the issue of disability was traditionally considered a field for charity and philanthropic actions. So, persons with disabilities were treated as "eternal children", who had to be taken care of and not as citizens, with duties and rights. As we strongly believe in their empowerment through access to Information, we took a quite different stand in this subject.

The SACI Network started functioning in August 1999 and has grown quite rapidly because it answered a demand so far left unattended. Our main themes are education and employment, since they are vital to the social inclusion of any human being, with or without disability.

The SACI Network collects and disseminates information about all subjects related to disability, besides the two themes above mentioned: law, rehabilitation, leisure, sports, architectural barriers, sexuality, health and many others.

The SACI web site receives an average of 4,500 visitors every day; we have developed methodologies to orient our work; we have also developed some software for blind and physically disabled persons. All our services and products are free - and there are many being offered.


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