Sociologist Luiz Galina, current director of Sesc São Paulo, comments, in an exclusive interview, on his career with Danilo Santos de Miranda and the legacy he will carry forward. Photo: Matheus José Maria
Sociologist Luiz Galina, current director of Sesc São Paulo, comments, in an exclusive interview, on his career with Danilo Santos de Miranda and the legacy he will carry forward. Photo: Matheus José Maria

Dsince November last year, when he took on the role of director of the Social Service of Commerce (sesc) in the state of São Paulo, sociologist and economist Luiz Galina has been highlighting, in publications on a social network, the importance of renewing the institution's historical commitments, on its multiple fronts of action, especially in the field of culture. In the images, we see the meetings he had with the president of Funarte, Maria Marighella, with the musician Hermeto Pascoal and the Minister of Culture, Margaret Menezes, Among others.

With a career spanning more than 50 years at Sesc, in which he served as social advisor, finance manager, administrative superintendent and technical consultant, Galina now occupies the position that belonged, from the mid-1980s, to Rio de Janeiro. Danilo Santos de Miranda, who died in October last year. The institution is expanding: expansions of existing units and the opening of new ones are planned over the next ten years. Among them, Franca, which will have a strong presence in sustainability issues. In the capital, there is great expectation for the openings in Parque Dom Pedro II and the unit that will occupy the old Mappin building, a bet by the institution to help revitalize the city center.

Galina began her career at Sesc alongside Miranda. Together, they worked on the program called Mobile Social Guidance Unit (Unimos), in which teams of three social counselors traveled, for about a month, to a municipality in the state, taking with them “cinema projectors, sports equipment, balls, nets, uniforms , record player, a collection of LPs, books, mimeograph, etc.”, he says.

“We went throughout the interior, to cities where there were no fixed Sesc units, which were few at the time. There were half a dozen cities in Bauru, São José dos Campos, Ribeirão Preto. We ended up having around 100 social advisors distributed across the various teams. These advisors then began to work in the units, with this philosophy of listening, of listening to demands, of seeing what was most important for each location, for each city and, in a way, this philosophy of work was incorporated into the Sesc way. be from the 1970s and 1980s, something that feeds this entire dynamic of our work”, he states.

Read, below, more excerpts from Galina's interview with arte!brasileiros.


We spent a month to a month and a half in each city, depending on its size, and there we spoke with leaders in the fields of culture, art, sport, health. We set up in a designated space and asked what they would like to do. Then came several ideas. “We’re going to do a seminar, we’re going to do a film cycle, etc.” We would tell them what our menu was and ask what they would like to make. Obviously, sometimes ideas came up beyond the menu we prepared. It was an activity that began with listening.


I've been part of this story forever. Since the beginning, when I started as a social counselor, I have been steeped in this culture that formed me, Danilo and so many colleagues. And we continued. Danilo led this improvement of our technical staff, in training, in specialization. Our management team has incredible training. From undergraduate, postgraduate, today we have masters, doctors. Almost all of our managers have had some experience, or several experiences, abroad, for example. This brings a very rich repertoire.

Of course, processes change. Size imposes changes. But our roots don't change. Our organizational DNA does not change, it is embedded in this management framework and this technical framework. We currently have 8.200 employees in this workforce, a very powerful and very active force of professional competence focused on this mission of continuing education, of supporting people's development, of collaborating, working together with other institutions.

Danilo Santos de Miranda, who died in 2023, and Luiz Galina, in 2019. Photo: Matheus José Maria
Danilo Santos de Miranda, who died in 2023, and Luiz Galina, in 2019. Photo: Matheus José Maria

These entities, Sesi, Senac and Senai, were created in the 40s of the last century. Sesc came along at the same time, in 1946. It was a precursor and pioneering idea of ​​the businesspeople of the time, leaders who today participate in the CNI, National Confederation of Industry, and the National Confederation of Commerce. During the Second World War, the flow of imports from Europe to Brazil was interrupted. The Germans sank everything, so Brazil had to industrialize. To industrialize, it needed labor. The population, which was predominantly rural, began to come to the cities, a large part of which was illiterate, a large part of which was not educated enough to live in cities. So these businessmen understood that, if they wanted to industrialize the country, they needed to train professionals and also take care of the workforce.

Sesi and Sesc emerged, and many of their initial programs were dedicated to health. Sesc had a maternity ward and laboratory testing clinics. The idea was good, but how to finance it? Businesspeople were then prepared to make a contribution themselves. In order for this idea to come to fruition, they took this proposal to the government, so that the government could create a law that would make the contribution of entrepreneurs and companies mandatory. Because they knew that, if it were voluntary, there would not be a sufficient contribution of resources. And then the first entity was Senai. Private management of the entity with compulsory contribution. This is our characteristic to this day.

Our creation decree and our regulations, which came later, are wise, because each state defines its schedule. There is no central definition that all states have to do this, this and this. There are a range of programs. For example, all Sesc regional departments in Brazil, with the exception of São Paulo, invest in formal education. Schools, elementary, primary and secondary education. Sesc in São Paulo said back then that it would not enter this area because there was already a state network, there were already municipal networks. So, those who preceded us in the 1950s decided to invest in culture, sport and leisure. And when in education, in extracurricular education.

The anchor of these entities, first, is the recognition of society and the role they have achieved throughout history. This is fundamental. Whether in the field of professional training or in the field of sociocultural development, let's put it this way.


There are projects in the Chamber and the Senate that interfere with our revenue, so we are never calm. This has always existed. But the biggest threat we experienced was during the Constituent Assembly. There is an article in the Brazilian Constitution that says the following: what is deducted from the payroll, part of it from the employee, another part from the employer, this has to be exclusive to finance public pensions. If this article had prevailed on its own, contributions to these entities would have ended. The leaders, the National Confederation of Commerce and the National Confederation of Industry, at the time, understood that they could not let these entities end up like this. If you don't have financing, there's no point. These entities will not be able to continue operating selling services.

Society would have to mobilize, create a popular amendment and take it to the Constituent Assembly. So it was done. More than a million signatures were collected, and at the time there was no internet. We set up stalls in the squares, all these entities mobilized throughout Brazil and the presidents of the CNC and CNI at the time literally took a truckload of petitions and delivered them to Mário Covas, who was the rapporteur. As a result, article 240 of the Constitution was added, which says the following: that article that says that business contributions are exclusive to financing public pensions, there is an exception. Contributions to finance autonomous social services, that is our official name, and vocational training services continue to receive this contribution. From a threat, we become stronger, because today we have a constitutional anchor. Some experts say this would be an ironclad clause.


Our revenue depends on the wage bill paid by commerce, service and tourism companies. If the number of employees is increased, with a formal contract, our revenue increases. If the salary of this mass improves, it improves due to the amount and value of the average salary that companies pay their employees. If this grows, we will do well. Of course, there are times when it doesn't grow as much as it needs to, sometimes it slows down, this fluctuation in the job market. This is where our base for the evolution of our collection lies. We had moments when it didn't grow, sometimes it fell, and then we had to adjust. But we have very careful management, a financial reserve so that these adjustments can be made without having to lay off people. Our essence is this group of 8.200 employees. Of course the building is important, but our team, you go there in São Caetano, which is a small unit, a house that we adapted, this team is wonderful, they develop activities in public squares, streets. Because professional competence is important. If we have a beautiful building and don't have a well-prepared professional, nothing will happen. The building itself is cold.


We have a very important focus on cost analysis. We have a very well studied and resolved architecture, we always use first-class materials in our constructions. An unsuspecting person might ask why Sesc used such granite. So you don't have to do it multiple times. So we are careful in cost management, to always have a more appropriate cost-benefit ratio. It's always top notch material. Because it's cheaper. You see Sesc Consolação, that unit is 60 years old. Of course, it has been renovated several times, but it is intact. They serve three, four thousand people a day there.


We are open to listening, to exchanging ideas, to co-carrying out activities with various partners, including teams from public bodies. We have no problem working at the municipal, state or even federal level, when there is an opportunity to do so. We have a very good relationship with the teams from the culture, sports and education departments. Here in São Paulo, for example, we have an agreement with the city's Department of Education in which we receive, during the vacation months, children from public schools to visit our units, participate in sports activities where there is equipment for this, etc. . We also have work related to exhibitions, which is to bring students and, in many cases, we even hire the bus, because sometimes it is difficult for the school to obtain funding. This whole philosophy was born at Unimos, and Danilo and I got into it together.


Our expansion plan has been established. Pirituba, Campo Limpo, São Miguel Paulista. And we will start, in the next few months, work in São Bernardo do Campo, a theater project by Lina Bo Bardi. We hired Marcelo Ferraz. We are going to start construction of Sesc Limeira, we are building a new Sesc in Marília, and in Franca. We bought a wonderful piece of land in Sapopemba.

A few years ago, they approached us so that Sesc could take over the Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia. It started about ten years ago, they looked for Danilo, and Danilo spoke to the president, and the president accepted and said he would receive it. The government changed, that stopped. In the last year of the Bolsonaro government, the Funarte people came to us again and said, “look, we want to implement this concession”. Then there was a lot of political work on the format of this concession and Sesc then took over the TBC. It is a concession for 35 years, renewable. And what allowed us to take over the TBC, which is completely deteriorated. The façade is even listed. But what allowed us to do so is that we bought a piece of land next door from Silvio Santos, a warehouse. So you can create a unit there. It's a small place, but there will be a theater, which has 200 or so seats, and next to the theater there will be a unit where there will be exhibitions, a library, physical activities, a space for children and it will be full of elderly people too. It will be a reference center for Brazilian theater.


It's a learning process. Our care begins with the architectural project. The architectural design for the future Franca unit provides for natural ventilation and natural lighting, for example. Be careful when consuming electricity to use less air conditioning, less lighting, use solar energy to heat water, both for industrial processes in our kitchens and for heating pool water, changing room water and so on. This is already, at this level, incorporated into our architectural projects. But there's a world ahead.

I have been talking to our area that takes care of exhibitions, for example, with Juliana [Braga de Mattos, visual arts and technology manager]. I was in Rio Preto, to set up the traveling exhibition of works from last year's Biennale. That's a lot of wood. I said: “Juliana, how do we get this wood to be reused later?” I'm provoking the teams, let's research, let's study, let's see what is being done around the world in this regard. Have you seen Casa Verde? Casa Verde is a building that Sesc bought, it was the headquarters of Riachuelo, and in October we started occupying it. There we held an exhibition related to music, carnival, popular art, it is part of the collection of the Pontal Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Now, you will see the montage, it is a building within a building. When the exhibition ends, what will we do with all that material? People have to invent new solutions: how do I disassemble it into modules, where do I store it and how do I reuse it?

In terms of sustainability, we always try to have actions that are models. We want to serve as a paradigm in what we do for other institutions to follow. If we have the conditions to do this, new solutions for exhibitions, this will later be copied. The professionals who worked on this take this knowledge, expand this knowledge and this practice. In Bertioga, for example, we have an RPPN, Private Natural Heritage Reserve. We took a large piece of land, hundreds of hectares. There was an original vegetation cover there and we proposed an RPPN, this has a legal approval process and has already been approved by the competent authorities. No one else will be able to touch this area, the vegetation cover. So that was an example, and this RPPN in Bertioga is important because it is in an urban environment. It is practically within the city of Bertioga.

We have also held many seminars, with guests who are experts on climate issues. This is a permanent issue, this is part of our programming, and this issue of sustainability, we have management here dedicated to this. And, increasingly, in our units, we are creating spaces suitable for education for sustainability. It is an important renewal movement in our programming in this sense.


For a few years now, we have been acting very strongly on the issue of diversity. On the racial issue, on the LGBTQIA+ issue. It's a challenge, you can't imagine the difficulty of implementing certain ideas about respect for diversity. And we are working, after all, we are all racists, right? I was talking to a lady who is a counselor at SP Escola de Teatro, a black psychoanalyst who is very active in this movement, Isildinha Nogueira. She, a black woman, said, “we are all racist. Including black people.” Because this is ingrained, right? So we are working hard on this internally. Ensuring that all employees can move up, developing their careers. We changed some recruitment and selection criteria to ensure that everyone can participate on equal terms in our processes. And we even have the presence of participants of indigenous and indigenous descent. We have them on the board. This is our DNA. Our council gives us this empowerment. With this empowerment that I receive from the president and the board, I work very calmly.


Sesc was a pioneer in the field of social work with the elderly. We celebrated 60 years last year. We were one of the first entities, if not the first, to recognize the elderly as citizens like any other. How did this start? It started at Sesc Carmo, close to Praça da Sé, where a Sesc technician observed the people who went there for lunch, retired people, and then these people had nothing to do. And he thought: let's get these people together, let's chat. Then social work with elderly people began, we started inviting these elderly people to participate. Our technicians studied countries in Europe where there was an increase in age in the population. So we have adapted sports, appropriate gymnastics. We have a set of knowledge that allows us to serve elderly people well. Our technicians, back in the 1960s, actively participated in the formation of the policies of the Elderly Persons Statute, for example, which was approved by the National Congress. We played an important role in the formulation of this legislation. Currently, we have a fall prevention campaign for elderly people every year, because it is a very serious problem. We have specialized educators, adequate spaces, and a culture of welcoming elderly people. Every year, we hold a meeting in Bertioga, where we bring together elderly people from all our units in the state of São Paulo to discuss the problems of this stage of life. For people to also have leisure, date, play, dance.


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