by Keila Campos
Anália Emília Franco
Bastos, mostly known as Anália Franco, was born on February 1, 1853, in the
city of Resende, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. She died on January 20, 1919,
in the city of São Paulo. She was a journalist, writer, poet, and an excellent
educator who left a legacy of love for others and tireless work for the good,
an example of abnegation and true charity.
She started her path in
education at the age of 15, when she studied to be a teacher and helped her
mother, who was also a teacher. She lived in a time when society exploited
black people and women had no voice.
In 1871 the Lei do
Ventre Livre (Law of the Free Womb) was approved, which proposed freedom for
children born to slave mothers. Still, these children would be under the
guardianship of the slave masters until they were eight years old, which
resulted in abuse and mistreatment, and then the children were abandoned and
left to their own devices. Touched by this situation, Anália Franco began her
social work by writing letters to the women farmers, asking for help and
support. Then, she created a place to shelter these children called Casa
Maternal (Maternal House).
This first place was
given free of charge by one of the farmers Anália had contact with to ask for
help. However, the condition imposed by the farmer was that blacks and whites
should not be mixed. Anália refused and started paying rent for the place to
serve underprivileged children without racial distinction. Not pleased with
Anália’s decision, the farmer used her resources and her husband’s influence to
force Anália out of that place.
Faced with this
situation, Anália went to the city of São Paulo, where she rented a house with
her own money, which was half of her salary as a teacher. However, she did not
have enough resources to feed the children, so she went to the streets to ask
Anália Franco dedicated
a significant part of her life to socio-educational activities for children,
mainly black children of slaves. However, she expanded her social projects and
helped working women, the poor, the marginalized, orphans, and the needy. Anália believed in liberating education. She
tried to empower those she helped by giving them professional and educational
training so they could grow and (re)
build their own lives so that they would be an active part of society again.
collaborated with several newspapers and magazines from several cities and
Portugal. On April 30, 1898, she created her own magazine entitled “Album
das Meninas” (Girls’ Album), published monthly and aimed at young
Brazilian women. It had a literary and educational nature, with most of the
content produced by Anália herself, who also received help from other
The magazine ran until
1901 and was a way to encourage education, especially for girls, because Anália
used this medium to appeal to parents and society for women’s education to go
beyond learning how to read and write and ask for support for public education.
On November 17, 1901,
Anália Franco inaugurated the “Associação Feminina Beneficente e Instrutiva do
Estado de São Paulo” ( Beneficent and Instructional Female Association of the
State of São Paulo). It aimed to support, instruct and educate poor children
and eradicate illiteracy, poverty, and ignorance of the less privileged.
According to her own words, the Association “does not aim only to support
and educate the poor; it has a higher purpose; a holistic idea of gathering all
intelligent and good-willed ladies to work with a common goal for the social
Even though she was a
spiritist, Anália never wanted to show this nuance in her work and projects.
Instead, she welcomed children of different beliefs and wanted to teach the
fundamental truths of any religion, such as the existence of God and love for
Anália was an example of
dedication and firmly believed in the power of education. With her speeches,
she tried to convince other people, especially women, that the Brazilian nation
would only have a better future through children’s education. She used to say:
“Let’s educate and support the poor children who need our help: pulling
them from the paths of vices, making them useful and worthy citizens for the
advancement of our Homeland.”
She had about thirty
nursery schools in São Paulo under her supervision, senior homes, daycare
centers, and other schools in 24 different cities, adding up to about 70
institutions. Anália dedicated her life to fulfilling the need and quality of the
work in these loving and welcoming homes.
Analia had to overcome
many difficulties when resources were scarce due to World War II, where she
could hardly count on any help from the government. She held several events
and, for a while, relied on the support of friends and collaborators. After
that, she started to go around the cities with the “Regente Feijó”
Female Band and the Music and Drama Group of the Colônia Regeneradora “Dom Romualdo” (D. Romualdo Reform
Colony), both founded by her, to get donations for the Association,
always with the help and support of her husband Francisco Antônio Bastos.
Another calamity would
appear despite all these efforts, reaching Brazil. The “Spanish flu”
pandemic began in Europe, and in 1918 many people died in São Paulo.
Without the physical
strength to go on, after all the efforts and anguish she endured to take care
of her beloved children, Anália passed away on January 20, 1919, in São Paulo.
She was a delicate soul,
pure of heart, dedicated, humble, patient, and loving. She was a faithful
servant of Jesus and built a vast spiritual family. She had no biological
children but hundreds of children of the heart who called her mother, and all
her work was dedicated to the Father of Endless Mercy.
She left a legacy of
love and as an exemplary educator. She wrote a few novels, collaborated with
several magazines and newspapers, inspired thousands of souls, and continues to
be, until today, an unforgettable personality.
Anália Franco believed
that “besides the thought and word of God, there is nothing more beautiful
and noble than the mission of the true educator of children.”
by Bernadete F. Leal