A growing litter

Maicon’s micro credit project is bearing fruit (well pigs)!!

Maicon is a student at the Agricultural College in Cristino Castro. His initial investment in building a pig sty and buying a couple of sows is paying off.

A growing litter

A growing litter

A second litter of piglets is welcomed into the the fold.

Maicon is also on schedule for repaying his micro credit loan.

Maicon is really pleased with the fruit of his labour and he is hoping to increase production in the coming months.

Oliveira visits Maicon on a regular basis to provide support and advice.

His mum and family help Maicon with the daily routine of feeding and caring for the growing litter.

Well done Maicon.

Maicon with his mum and the expanding pig sty.

Maicon with his mum and the expanding pig sty.

 

We will follow Maicon’s project with great interest.

Maicon’s project is one of many small projects that Volunteer in Brazil supports.

We are always looking for more resources to help more families to invest in small income generating projects.

 

 

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The end of an era

The Living and Learning Project finally closes its doors….

Hundreds of children and families from the communities of Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, have been served by the Living and Learning Project. A dedicated team of staff as well as local and international volunteers gave their hearts and skills to serving young people and their families who are caught in the web of poverty and violence that scars the face of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Beth

Beth

Beth dedicated many years of her life to the project, it was her vision, her enthusiasm and commitment that enlivened, enriched and enthused all the staff and volunteers.

It was Beth’s dedication that captured the hearts of a group of international visitors in 2005 and that experience was instrumental in the formation of the charity Volunteer in Brazil.

Beth was the visionary and Monica was the bedrock of the project.

Monica

Monica

 Coming herself from one of the local communities Monica knew at first hand the daily challenges of life in the favalas.

With a gentle but firm hand Monica helped steer the project through many difficult times.

The project has been a wonderful blessing to the local communities in Santa Teresa and many international volunteers have been blessed by the experience the project provided for them to live in solidarity with the people of Brazil.

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Getting ready to Volunteer

From Rio to Newcastle, Rose can't wait!

From Rio to Newcastle, Rose can’t wait!

Hello everybody my name’s Rosimeire, I ‘m from Brazil. I’m 29 years olds. I have always worked with children in Brazil. I like children and I love to help them.  Right now I am living the best moments of  my life. I ‘m preparing to go to England for one year. I will be working as a Volunteer in Newcastle. I believe this will be the biggest experience of my life. This will be my first time traveling abroad, I’m very excited. My expectations is to learn from this experience and to became a better person so that I can serve the world better. I’m a spiritual person and I want to live my faith and do what God calls me to do. Being  a volunteer in Newcastle will be a challenge but I will put my hands, head and my heart into everything and I will give and  I will receive. I want to give my whole being . It will be very interesting to get to know and participate in another culture. I would like to thank the VinB trustees for helping me on this journey. I would also like to thank Helen Granger, she is the coordinator of Assumption Lay Volunteer Programme and she has really helped me. Thanks also to the Assumption Religious as they have supported me for a long time.  I ask for your prayers for me and for all the young people who will be volunteering this year. I know this experience will transform my life!
Sorry about my English…
Fraternally
Rosimeire Brito
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Ambassadors’s challenge

IMG_3098A group of CAFOD Ambassadors ‘walked a mile’ in the shoes of an indigenous community ejected from their land by a logging company.

VinB trustees and supporters organised a simulation activity for CAFOD Ambassadors at Lee House. The simulation was based on the experience of indigenous communities living in the Amazon who face expulsion from their ancestral homelands by logging companies and land grabbers.

The simulation began with living the daily routines of the community, collecting fire wood, fetching water, making herbal medicine and shelters as well as entering into the ethos of a greater sense of connected-ness with all living beings.

The tranquility of oneness with nature was broken by the arrival of a logging company with documents that laid claim to vast areas of the forest. The felling of trees began as the community was ejected from the land. Imprisonment followed in the cold, dark cellar of the house. From the prison cell the community was marched to a court room where they defended their right to live in the disputed area of the rain forest.

“A truly transformative experience – thank you so much; Thanks for a fantastic experience;Thanks for an eye opening experience; Thank you for such a worthwhile and incredible; experience; Thank you so much for having us and giving us a very thought provoking personal experience; Thank you so much. It has been a heartfelt experience”
Just some of the comments received from the Ambassadors.

 

 

 

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From strength to strength

Dona Vicencia of the rural women’s group in Cristina Castro is proud to show Rosalba how the micro loan provided by VinB is helping families to generate additional family incomes.

Old friends new projects

Old friends new projects

In the early 1990’s Rosalba and Dona Vicencia were instrumental in setting up the Rural Women’s Group in Cristino Castro.

The group continues to meet and support the concerns of rural women.

The group recently received a micro loan to  help them to buy materials for their cottage industry producing handicrafts for sale in the local community.

The project is going so well that the group is repaying the loan with advanced repayments. Once repaid the monies will be used to support other families and communities.

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Learning the indigenous way

Children from St Thomas’s Primary School in Garstang experience some of the customs, culture and challenges facing indigenous communities living in the Amazon Rain Forest at Lee House in the forest of Bowland.

Preparing for prayer

Preparing for prayer

Living in harmony with nature and humanity is not easy when  land grabbers and loggers see £’s and $’s where you see beauty, life and interdependence.

Standing up for your rights, resolving conflict without violence, living simply and giving thanks for the beauty, bounty and wonder of nature were just some of values experienced by the children of St Thomas’s Primary School.

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Happy New Year

The trustees wish all our partners and supporters a very happy and adventurous 2015.

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A reflection from Davi

Mauricio, Rosalba and Davi at Lee House

Mauricio, Rosalba and Davi at Lee House

‘I am a Yanomani leader and I think the forest gives us life.

We value the forest, and for us, the forest is priceless.

Trees have life just as I have life.

I am not the owner of the forest.

Nobody can own the forest’

Davi Yanomami 

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A reflection on Davi Yanomami & Mauricio Ye’Kuana’s visit to Lee House

I had the privilege last Saturday of attending a CAFOD day hosting Davi Yanemami Kopenawa and Mauricio Ye’Kuana. These two men are key activists from indigenous tribes in the northern Brazilian Amazon, and vital members in CAFOD partner group Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY). Although they come from different tribes (Davi is from the Yanomami people, and Mauricio, the Ye’Kuana people), both are working for indigenous rights and the protection of the rainforest which is their home. I found these two men’s stories profoundly moving, not only for the work they do and the struggles they face, but maybe more especially for the wise understanding they have of their relationship to this world. This is an understanding we have a lot to learn from.

Lee House welcomes Davi & Mauricio

Lee House welcomes Davi & Mauricio

Davi and Mauricio’s talk wove the threads of a story which seems to have been lost in our Western world; a world of individualism, Cartesian dualism, separation, and ultimately disconnect. It might sound like a ‘new’ story to us, but in fact is a story that goes back to our source, to the beginning of time itself. This explains, I think, the resonance and draw it has for me. A book I am reading puts it beautifully: these stories ‘exemplify a way of being that we intuitively recognise and long for. They stir a memory in our hearts, and awaken a desire to return.’(Eisenstein, ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’).

Davi and Mauricio spoke of a ‘mother earth’ who cares for them as they care for her. This is a personal, reciprocal relationship. Both parties are living beings, responding to each other, as sacred, precious, and interdependent. We are all – the people, the creatures, the plants, the air, the water – strands in the great tapestry of life, whose thread is sacred, imbued with the divine. Matter and spirit are one. You and I are one. Humanity and creation are one. As such, what we do to any part of creation, we do to ourselves. A Native American leader, Chief Seattle puts this gracefully: ‘This we know: the earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.’

This story of connectedness leads almost by definition to a very different way of living in the world, and one which doesn’t necessarily sit naturally alongside the industrialised, consumerist society that dominates today. I seem to inhabit a world of barriers to creation. I cover my skin with clothes, I put shoes between my feet and the ground, I live inside brick walls, I put text on a screen between me and others, I get my food from a sanitised, cooled supermarket shelf…the list could go on. Now you may point out, that living in the UK – if I didn’t do some of these things, I would be very cold and wet a lot of the time… but I do think there is an underlying point. In our western world, connection to creation, even to ourselves, isn’t obviously part of the set up, and so we might need to make a point of seeking creation out, in order to re-connect. Because until we re-connect, we are likely to continue cutting down trees, poisoning rivers and land with pesticides, buying the jewellery made from illegal gold-mining which is destroying the communities and forests of Davi and Mauricio.

So, what have I taken away from the testimony of these two men?

I think it is an invitation. To re-connect, to take off my shoes, to stand in the garden and feel this living, vibrant, sustaining ‘mother earth’ that I am a part of. I feel an invitation to get in touch with this sacred life that flows through all things, including myself, and which connects me, not only to this garden behind my house, or my family and friends, but also to Davi and Mauricio, to their communities, and to all people and life the world over. Imagine if our actions reflected this idea that we are all one body, all one world, all precious and sacred. Imagine the ripples that would spread.

Iona Reid-Dalglish

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Repaid in full!

Fabiana, Similde and family have repaid their micro loan and their project is thriving.

Similde & Fabiana

Similde & Fabiana

Just over two years ago Fabiana and Similde made use of a micro loan provided by St Mary’s Primary School in Chipping.

They invested their loan into an horticultural project. They now produce vegetables for their local market, local schools and the town market in Cristino Castro.

 

Their project has gone from strength to strength. The small loan provided by St Mary;s School gave Fabiana and Similde the opportunity to realize their goal. Now that the loan has been repaid another family will be provided with a similar opportunity.

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