Geraldo Barros “The open internet is important because people have control — not corporations and governments focused on their own profits and benefits.”

Geraldo started out as a young leader wanting to teach the web and since then grown into Mozilla Club superstar teaching privacy and digital inclusion in his many clubs. He works across Brazil to help new and existing mentors run Mozilla Clubs and get involved in helping #teachtheweb.


Geraldo’s Story

Please tell me a bit about your work…

I am web development teacher, teaching programming to people of all ages, I love my job! I like technology, programming, and I love to share my knowledge. As a volunteer, I’m a Mozilla Club Captain, leading the Leão Mozilla Club at a school near my house. This is a way to teach and share knowledge, connect to my local community, and connect my community to a global initiative. Through my Mozilla volunteer work I help develop and empower my community. Last year, our Leão Mozilla Club team members learned a lot about technology and entrepreneurship — and were able to apply their new skills in their classes at school. In an empowered community, people are able to use technology for civic engagement, education, work, and the economy. People who participate in our Mozilla Club learned a lot in these areas, especially education and civic engagement.

Beyond my local community, I volunteer with Mozilla Brazil to support functional teams, like the Product Support Team and Diversity & Inclusion Team. This work includes creating policies, communications, and outreach to engage new volunteers through social networks and big university and college events. People engage with Mozilla because they love our work and our mission. There are also variations: some volunteers are passionate about Firefox development, others love to teach programming and get involved with Mozilla Learning, and others — like an attorney who recently joined — become part of the advocacy team. Volunteers learn a lot and receive recognition in our social networks and blogs, gain decision-making powers, and can become Mozilla representatives. Every year we organize many events — everyone is invited to present and represent the community, and each year there is a community meeting to think about best practices, planning, and training.

What would be an example of a success for you?

Success is the satisfaction that comes from making change in ourselves and impacting society! I am happy because I have a job that I love, I also know that my work positively impacts others. Last year I taught Leão Mozilla Club members how to work in the computer lab, creating new things and spreading good teaching practices. The things they learned have an impact on the local community. For example, many help their families with local businesses, while others are involved in civic engagement movements — pressing politicians to create necessary changes in their neighborhoods.

Can you tell me about an example of a challenge you’ve faced in your work? How have you approached solving this?

I worked two years with digital inclusion in my city. The biggest challenge was fighting to keep telecentres up and running for poor communities, especially in the periphery of the city. Technology is beneficial to people and at that time I was responsible for managing telecentres and educators with minimal and scarce resources. To solve this, I involved the entire local community to raise funds and engage volunteers to keep the telecenters active.

Regarding Mozilla Brazil, a challenge we faced was to create the Diversity & Inclusion Team. Many women experienced discrimination and it was challenging to implement community participation policies since some members were authoritarian and conservative. This was a difficult challenge, but it was necessary. Today our community has the participation of many women and a healthy environment.

What is the open Internet and why is it important to you?

The open Internet is a space where people can engage, learn, work, and share moments and fun. It is important because people have control — not corporations and governments focused on profits and their own benefits. The open Internet is people, made by and with people, and because of that everyone has the opportunity to use the large network without owners or people who control it.

Can you tell me about how you got involved with Mozilla? What has that been like?

I learned about Mozilla through two Mozilla Brazil contributors, Melissa and Ricardo Panaggio. They are fantastic! In 2012, Mozilla Brazil volunteers organized a WebMaker event in my town to teach the web to local communities. I attended the event and learned about different ways to engage. Since then, I have been increasingly involved in the community and met great people, like Amira Dhalla who works on Mozilla clubs.

Can you tell me about a time that Mozilla had some sort of impact on your life or work?

Working with Mozilla Clubs I learned new teaching approaches and practices, developed new curriculum, and learned about new ways of organizing groups. Through Mozilla Reps I learned a lot about community development, resource management, producing major events, managing functional teams, managing campaigns and programs, creating work plans, and how to give and receive constructive feedback.

Can you tell me about a time that Mozilla did not meet your expectations?

The Mozilla Brazil community frustrated me last year because I observed bad practices related to diversity and inclusion.