Apr 10, 2023

Meli Bees offers internship to Ohio State student

The Brazil Gateway continues to strengthen its relationship with Meli Bees, a nonprofit working to protect the Meli stingless bees in indigenous, quilombola, campesino or other rural and urban communities in the most endangered areas of the Amazon Rainforest. Through environmental education and knowledge generation, Meli Bees helps communities create environmentally and economically sustainable activities that allows both land and people to flourish.

Thanks to help from the Brazil Gateway and Center for Latin American Studies, Meli Bees was able to connect with Arón Olegnowicz, an Ohio State political science student, to offer him a volunteer internship teaching English to Indigenous Brazilians living across the Legal Amazon.

“It has been amazing to deepen our partnership with Ohio State through Meli Conecta, which has students from the university volunteer to be English teachers for our network,” Ana Rosa, founder of Meli Bees, said.

Olegnowicz teaches in Brazilian Portuguese, strengthening his knowledge of the language while fostering more authentic connections with his students.

“Beyond language education, the cultural exchange that takes place during each class is remarkable. While I attended high school in the United States, I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico,” Olegnowicz said. “With the community we have established in our virtual classroom, my students and I build a cultural bridge across the United States, Brazil and Mexico that makes learning English a personal experience for all in attendance every Tuesday and Thursday.”

This internship is part of Meli Bee’s mission to support the communities they serve.

“Members of indigenous, peasant and extractive communities that are part of our network who have never before had the opportunity to study English are reporting that they are fulfilling a dream! And this reflects on their enormous motivation!” Rosa said.

“We are happy and proud of our collaborations with Meli Bees since its inception. I am sure we can do much more together to add to the experiences and development of both Meli’s supported communities and the Buckeye community,” Jane K. Aparecido, director of the Brazil Gateway.