Yesterday I wrote that I would report on why we can make this claim. It is because recently, several sponsors have made a commitment to support the annual administration and insurance costs of the charity.
Therefore 100% all the donations and monies raised through fund raising events can go directly to supporting the children and making choices available to them.
Yesterday’s post concluded that in future we will describe the main purpose of the ‘Living and Learning’ project as existing to extend the choices available to youngsters.
Today, the Living and Learning project will receive £2200 raised from the recent Ceilidh and volunteer donations. The money will go towards paying the salaries of the staff and ultimately provide Maria and her peers with more choices than are currently available to her.
You can help Maria and others like her by sending us a small donation.
100% of all donations go directly to the projects.
Tomorrow, I will tell you how we achieve this!
Changes afoot as Graham exchanged farewells with students and staff of the Living and Learning project, and left for the three hour fight to Teresina, where he was welcomed by Dona Maria’s family. I have cherished memories of the warmth and hospitality of my visit to Joe’s extended family last year.
After catching his breath for a couple of days he will board the overnight bus bound for Christino Castro. Once there he will advise on youth programmes that will provide the youngsters of the town with “choices”.
This is a keyword for Graham whose blog post, I will take the liberty of paraphrasing as “the more subject to poverty one is, the less life “choices” available”.
I have posted previously that my perspective on the aim of the ‘Living and Learning’ project was to bring hope but I now think that the word “choices” is more helpful in understanding the activities that take place as being designed with the aim of providing choices to the youngsters. From now on I am going to adopt this word and say thank you Graham for once more helping to clarify my thinking.
It is a pleasure to report that fourteen year old Renato who received the first Volunteer in Brazil bursary has settled into his studies at the Colégio Agrícola, a campus of the University of Piauí in Bom Jesus; about an hours bus journey from his home.
Renato speaks a little English watch out for his own post coming soon.
After showing a video of children talking about the Living and learning project a volunteer remarked that they didn’t look like they were from poor backgrounds. This reminded me of a volunteers who in the centre of the city of Rio observed that you never see anyone from the favelas. I remember saying to her, ‘and how would you know that they were from the favelas’? She replied, “by the way they were dressed”.
Both these experiences reminded me of the different ways we perceive things.
In Brazil the poor take great pride and effort in their appearance – the centre of Rio is full of people from the favelas but the outsider would not ‘see’ them if they were looking for people who look poor.
It is interesting that the poor don’t want to be seen as poor but the ‘rich’ require them to look poor to generate sympathy and generosity.
I am sure that when Seamus speaks of his anxiety with the language he is voicing the anxiety of many volunteers destined for a country where they have little understanding of the language.
Interesting that Graham who arrived at the Living & Learning project a couple of week ago, and who has been posting here and on his own blog, has not flagged this as a problem; I asked him about his progress and about his approach to learning Portuguese.
At first it felt like I would never get anywhere but slowly but surely I am learning…… I so want to be able to communicate with everyone.
Motivation seems to be a key factor along with the “take a risk and have a go” approach. Which is a an excellent mantra for volunteers to apply to all areas of life.
Support our volunteers by sharing your experiences of living in a country where initially you did not speak the language
Time to introduce you to Seamus who flies out to join the Living & Learning project later this month. His placement is for six months and despite busy last minute preparations he has found time to share some thoughts with us:
The main anxiety, of course, is the language. It is one thing answering back to a cd, it is another to interact with people. If I cannot master the basics of communication will I be of any use to the children at all? So, you just hope with effort, good will and time, this problem will be resolved. The whole purpose, after all, is to serve the children. I am really looking forward to being with them, as I am sure they have so much to offer.
There is more:
Of course when the Brazilians realise I am in the country, they will probably ask me to manage the national football team! Or else, I shall just go along and meet the girl from Ipenema, the poor thing has been waiting for me for so long! And I can’t wait to see the beauty of the country, and climb to the top of the statue of Christ . It is easy to lose heart and think you’ll be of little or no use, but in those circumstances, keep the faith, smile and do your best!
Watch out for more posts from Seamus as he shares his time in Rio with us.
A big thank you to the students of Trafford College, Manchester who raised a donation for the Living and Learning project.
During the Ceilidh Vicki presented Joe Howson the chairman of Volunteer in Brazil with monies collected by the students. Joe thanked Vicki for traveling to Chipping, asked her to pass on the thanks from all who are involved in the project.
This marks the beginning of an exciting new partnership.
“What a fantastic night”
This was the sentiment echoed by people as the evening came to a close.
Chipping Village Hall decorated with flags and balloons in Brazilian colors was packed with just over a hundred friends who came from near and far to enjoy the music, the supper of chili and steak pie with a range of puddings; enjoyed by all. Some twice !
Prizes rolled in to make a bumper raffle, donations were made and just over £1140.00 was raised. Which will go to towards the salary costs of the Living & Learning staff, discussed in a recent post.
Thank you to everyone for your generosity.
Isn’t it strange how as soon as one takes an interest in something, such as a name, it then seems to crop up all over the place. This happened to me with the reference to Paulo Freire by Graham, the volunteer currently on placement in the Living & Learning project.
But no less strange are the events we label as irony, an example of which follows.
You might recall from an earlier post that we are busy designing the syllabus section of our TEFL toolbox. A little while ago whilst searching for a copy of the English Syllabus used in the Brazilian public schools that I came across the name Paulo Freire. This provoked memories of Teacher Training days during the the mid seventies; Freire was one of one of a group of radical educationists that had a profound influence on my teaching.
I had quite forgotten that Paulo Freire was Brazilian but not his teachings that the relationship between teacher and pupil should be based on mutual respect, that the roles of teacher and learners are interchangeable and that ‘dialogica’l teaching is a powerful medium for developmental learning.
Finally, the irony that my current day interest in Brazil has a link with the past and that Freire’s work influences the work of the Living & learning project.
So, thank you Graham for reminding me to make these principles explicit in our curriculum.
If you are interested in helping us to develop a curriculum for teaching English in Brazil then we would love to hear from you.
Graham on Paulo Freire
A TEFL lead curriculum?