Graham arrives in Brazil

It’s great to hear that Graham has arrived safely at the Living and Learning project in Rio and is already busy recording his experiences for you to enjoy!

Graham’s blog

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Renato awarded first VinB partnership bursary.

We are proud  to tell you about Renato and a bursary created for him in  partnership with the Assumption Sisters.  Martin our volunteer in Cristino with the ‘Development for All’ project’ brought to our attention  an academically gifted boy whose family would  need support with the costs of traveling.

Secure in the knowledge that a bursary was available Renato  applied for a place  and  recorded the second highest entrance score. His school year starts this month and we look forward to following his journey and hearing from him. It would be great to help others in this way.

The Assumption Sisters

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Research and a student called Graham.

I would like to introduce you to  Graham an undergraduate student at the  University of Cumbria  who his completing  last minute arrangements before flying out to Brazil  on Sunday.  The ‘Living and Learning ‘ community in Rio and and the ‘Development for All ‘ community in  Cristino are the context  for his  research  thesis based on Youth Development. A key feature of Grahams methodology is  reflective practice which he is going to share with us through his blog.

I met Graham for the second time on Friday when time allowed us the luxury of  learning a little more about what  had led him to this point in his life and particularly to his interest in the welfare of young people.   His multi-coloured  trainers might have been the simple answer, but Graham told a much more interesting story of how the people he had met, especially  during  challenging times of his life continue to be  his inspiration. I am looking forward to following his research and hearing his reflections.

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Ceilidh the Brazilian way

7.30 Friday  11th March 2011

CEILIDH Dance –   Chipping Village Hall

Dancing to the Millstone Ceilidh Band

Tickets £12.00 to incl Supper

It  is going to be  a superb night as  volunteers,  supporters, family and friends come together to enjoy the music and company.  This is one of our main  fund raisers and we  need your  help with : preparing  the hall, preparing  and serving  the supper, selling raffle  tickets,  collecting tickets at the door. Do get in touch right now by emailing us at        info@volunteerinbrazil.org

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‘Pacification’ and more “hope.”

Last week we read   encouraging reports of the ‘Pacification’  of  the favelas in  the Santa Teresa neighbourhood district, home to the staff and children of the Living & Learning Project. Accomplished peacefully largely because the drug traffickers were given  warning  of the Police entry,  thus to  avoid the  street battles and the  involvement of the innocent as reported in an earlier post.( 09/02/2011)                                                                                    We wondered what the reality was for our friends living through the experience and Beth  has kindly transcribed some of  their memories and  reflections for us to read:

Wellington – “I did not see any difference after the entry of the Civil Police, Military and the Battalion of Shock on February 6. The bandits who had  police record left, but they still rule the community. The sister of one of my neighbors gave an interview to a newspaper television talking about the UPP in the community and was eventually expelled from the community by bandits, so for me still the same thing. But I wish changes for better.”

Mônica – “On Sunday, February 6, the community where I live has been taken by the police, but days before that event the bandits escaped and moved to other slums. The entrance of the police happened differently than it usually does, because everyone expected that police would approach to all who enter and leave the community, but they did not. We’re still in expectation of our homes to be searched. Despite the “law” remains the same (the bandits law), I expect that to change, change too much, especially the education of children and young people because if they have education, they do not go to the crime.”

Fabiana – “The occupation of the “favelas” was on February 6, a Sunday, where the police have risen in the hills with tanks, helicopters and many police officers, but without giving a shot. They went into some suspected houses, but did not take anyone arrested. They did not get into my house, but passed on the road with a lot of education, greeting residents. Now, we, the residents, we live a different reality, with more “hope.”

Ana Cristina – “A police raid was quiet and there was no shooting or confusion. They were at my house and just looked at the backyard, then they were gone. In my opinion, not much has changed until today, because I do not see police on the streets as the newspapers reported, and the bandits are slowly coming back, they just are not armed. I hope that when the UPP is installed, things improve.”                                                                      

Moving  insights into people’s lives that  bring to mind why  the ‘Living and Learning project’  is so  important for communicating the truth that   though far away others care deeply about their  struggles and aspirations.



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Grant scores as a Rio volunteer.

This morning brought news  from Grant who is currently volunteering in the Living and Learning Project.  Grant  known to the charity from being a boy engaged in the  school link at St Mary’s Primary School  chose to volunteer after completing a sports degree and a post graduate Teaching Certificate.  He writes of his experience:

I seem to get on with the children really well when I simply join in with them, whether it is hand tennis or football etc… Working for the project has been a very interesting experience so far. The children are really enthusiastic and gave me a very warm welcoming to the project on my first day. It is a privilege to aid their learning and hopefully they will have developed in some way during my stay here. I´m sure by the end of my stay here, I will have learnt a lot from them.

Interesting how many of the volunteers talk of what they have learned through the experience of volunteering.  If you have  volunteered  abroad we would love to hear about your experience.

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Best bib and tucker for Brazil.

It is  often the unlikely that  warms the heart  and this morning no less so than an article that I came across in the  Washington Post.  Where it was reported that it is not unusual for Magellanic penguins to be storm driven onto the beaches around Rio.

Giselda Candiotto, president of the rehabilitation zoo  across the bay from Rio  went on to describe  how the penguins arrive exhausted and  have little chance of surviving the heat and returning to their natural waters.  However  a happy ending for  these two and the rest of their  group  that will  be resettled in an appropriately  acclimatised aquarium  in  Northern California where they will  star in a climate change exhibition.

We wish them safe journey and a cool life. Maybe you have some heart warming Rio stories to share ?

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“May I have the next dance ?”

Unsurprisingly Lord Leon Brittan, special adviser to the Prime Minister,  spoke  in Sao Paulo (15th February)  during the ‘Brazil/UK Partners in Global Finance’ in glowing terms of the potential trading  opportunities for  Brazil and the UK.   as have others.  Including  Nigel Sheinwald, ambassador to the United Nations who whilst delivering a speech  at Harvard (8th Feb) on Britain’s Foreign policy referred,  to the  trade opportunities presented by the emerging ‘BRIC’ markets in general and in ‘building new’ trading relationships with Brazil in particular.

Surprising therefore that despite  this  strategic  interest in developing trade relations with Brazil there is virtually no   support through  DIFD  to  encourage  cross cultural partnerships  at a grass roots level with Brazil.  Even more surprising  when a  lack of  awareness  of  Chinese culture is blamed in part for  our failure to understand why  China’s is so successful in developing international trading  partnerships.

The grassroots cross-cultural fertilization that occurs  through volunteer exchange programmes can  effectively  build relationships and understanding from the bottom up. Because the volunteers who Samba’d  to the carnivals  in Rio,  or those who  held  hands to sing Auld Lang Syne in Trafalgar Square are potential  trade partners.

Read more of Leon Brittan’s Speech……….Brazil/UK Partners in  Global Finance

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The bad, the ugly and the GOOD news.

Whilst  trying to put into words the reason for the recent absence of posts  it dawned on me that  more likely than not  no-one has noted  the absence so  I will just get on with  reporting  some good  news regarding the ‘Pacification’ programme.

Before Christmas there were reports and  deeply disturbing images of children caught up in the violent and bloody  clashes between the police and the  gangs.

(This image  haunts,  motivates  and reminds me why I am involved in ViB. )

Now the good news as reported  in the:

BRAZIL, RIO DE JANEIRO –  On Sunday night at 10PM Rio’s Governor Sergio Cabral tweeted: “São Carlos and Santa Teresa can celebrate liberty, they are free from the rule of criminals. Viva Rio!” It took seventeen armored vehicles, 150 marine soldiers, 700 military, federal and civil police officers, one hour, forty minutes and not a single gunshot to overtake nine favelas around the hillsides of Centro’s popular neighborhood Santa Teresa.

It will be interesting to hear the views of the ‘Living and Learning’ staff who live in the Santa Teresa district.

Continue reading the report………… The Rio Times

Link to earlier post…………………..Pacification: Brazilian Style

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