Simple beginnings

Pedro, a student at the Agricultural College in Cristino Castro, gets his chicken rearing project underway.

Many of the projects we support start in a very small way with very simple beginnings. Pedro, like many other young farmers studying at the Agricultural College, asked VinB to help him invest in his family’s small, subsistence farms. Pedro put a project proposal together. The proposal was then evaluated by Oliveira, our coordinator and Agronomist in Cristino Castro. Oliveira considered the project to be viable and beneficial to the recipient and the local community. He then sent the proposal to the VinB trustees for their consideration. After careful consideration the trustees approved the project and made the  resources available.

Pedro’s project is now beginning to take shape in very simple steps. Here are the first three that Pedro has undertaken since receiving the go ahead from the trustees.

Step one – The foundations

The foundations

The foundations








Step two – Complete the building

Building complete

Building complete








Step three – Start rearing the chickens

Rearing the chickens

Rearing the chickens










We wish Pedro well in his new project and all other students from the Agricultural College who are trying to develop their family farms.

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Thanks to all our supporters

In January 2017 the trustees undertook a review of all our work

Micro projects: We are delighted to report that we are supporting 17 micro projects in five different municipal areas in the region of Cristino Castro, NE Brazil. They range from organic vegetable production, handicrafts, fish farms, cattle, pig, sheep and chicken rearing projects. All of the projects are fully up to date with their micro loan repayment schedules. (Remember – VinB micro loans are provided by individuals and communities in the UK, they are interest free and recycled many times over – to date they are proofing to provide a virtuous circle to all involved). Sincere thanks to our coordinator, Jose Oliveira, for his expertise and dedication and for all your support throughout the year.

Favela Brass: Following the successful  involvement in the 2016 Olympics the Favela Brass project grows in strength and depth. The Favela Brass band practising in Rio

Above: Young musicians at the Favela Brass Project.

Below: the  Sandhouse Stompers raising money and support for the project. The Sandhouse Stompers completed their charity walk today

Experiential Learning: At Lee House the trustees continue to run experiential learning days for young people receiving highly positive responses from participating schools and groups.

Preparing for prayer

Experiential Learning Days








Volunteers: Our Brazilian volunteer Rosie is now well into her second year working with disadvantaged communities in Newcastle.

Rose and friends

Rose and friends




Thank you for all your support throughout 2016.

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A Child is Born

Just before Christmas Beth became a grand mother for the second time.

In September 2016 the trustees were delighted to receive Beth, Eduardo and their daughter Bia to the ‘wilderness’ of Longridge, Thornley and Chipping. Past volunteers and visitors to Brazil came together to welcome Beth and her family to the warmth of a Lancashire hearth.

In January 2017 the trustees are delighted to send Beth and Eduardo their heartfelt congratulations on the birth of their grand daughter.

At our annual review today the trustees will raise their glasses to the wonderful Sarlo family!

Beth's Grandchild

Beth’s Grandchild

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Messy Favela!

What would it be like to survive on a $1 a day?

That was what the children and families attending St Bartholomew’s, Chipping Messy Church were able to experience on Saturday afternoon. Teaming up with local charity Volunteer in Brazil the children swapped the usual craft, singing and worship of a typical Messy Church for shelter building, making water filters and cooking pancakes on an open fire. This was all part of the “Favela Experience” held at Lee House, Thornley which enables children and adults to better understand the difficulties faced by families in Brazil as they migrate from a life of poverty in the north of the country in search of a better life in large cities like Rio. During the afternoon the children and families were encouraged to act out the story of trying to build and set up new homes and communities, struggling with lack of money, being evicted from their property and trying to fight to remain in their homes through the court system. The experience ended with a short act of worship around the campfire, with prayers for those living in hardship around the world and donations were given towards the work of the charity. The afternoon was one of hundreds of Crossroads Mission events throughout Blackburn Diocese this weekend.

Rev Fiona Jenkins of St Bartholomew's helps construct emergency shelters

Rev Fiona Jenkins of St Bartholomew’s helps construct emergency shelters


The trustees  were delighted to host the event and would like to thank volunteers Agnes Bland, Dianne Ngoza and Helen Turner for their help and support.

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Tom is blown away with two appearances on the BBC in one week!

They say that lightening doesn’t strike twice but Favela Brass has featured twice on the BBC within the space of three days.

The first was playing own samba version of “Chariots of Fire right at the end of BBC One’s primetime program “Countdown to Rio”, which ran from 8:30pm to 10pm, before the opening ceremony of the Olympics:


And then the second was a piece specifically about our project this morning on BBC Breakfast, which is broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC News:

It’s an amazing moment for the project and we’re all incredibly happy that the Olympics really did provide us with opportunity that we were all hoping for in terms of spreading the word about our project.

The task now is to find a way to convert all of this fantastic publicity into music lessons for our kids.

On that note, if anyone who hasn’t done so already would like to contribute financially, our Just Giving page will remain open for the duration of the Olympics. All pounds/dollars/euros donated are much appreciated and will go a long way.

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Growing together

Patricia, a student at the Agricultural College in Cristino Castro, invests in growing vegetables and her horticultural skills.

Patricia with her mum

Patricia with her mum

The trustees are delighted to be able to support Patricia with her micro project growing organic vegetables for sale in local communities.

Patricia is keen to use the skills that she is developing as an agricultural student to good use.

The vegetables that she produces will serve the local communities in and around Cristino Castro.

Oliveira, our local agronomist and coordinator of the VinB micro projects, will ensure that Patricia will get all the support that she requires.

We wish Patricia every success in her project.


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One more year

We are delighted to hear that Rosie & Patch have decided to continue their work as volunteers in Newcastle for one more year.

Rosie and Patch enjoyed a wonderful weekend with Dave, Shelagh and the Trustees in the sunny but cool Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside. It was a delightful weekend of visiting cultural and historical sites as well as lots of eating and socialising. On their return to Newcastle they entered a process of discernment and decided that they would continue to work as volunteers for one more year.

We wish them well in their second year and we will do all that we can to support them.

Rosie & Patch with cakes designed around their national flags baked by Shelagh

Rosie & Patch with cakes designed around their national flags baked by Shelagh

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A new home and a face lift

Painting the New Site on Good Deeds Day

On Saturday morning, 16 volunteers arrived at the project to paint our new second home at the College of the Assunção-Cenam centre. This kind and generous act was organised as part of International Goods Deeds Day, the volunteers putting themselves forward to help via the site of a Brazilian NGO called Atados.

The painting was a great success and the house, which previously was looking distinctly abandoned, is now looking smart. The sisters of the Assunção-Cenam centre laid on a lovely lunch for everyone involved and the whole job was prepared and organised to perfection by local professional painter Eliezer from the Pereira da Silva favela. We also had help from Roberto and Regivaldo who work at the Assunção-Cenam Centre.

As can be seen from the photos the school is very big and it was a great team effort to prepare and paint all of the green parts of the building in just one day. It was a very enjoyable day and many of the group have resolved to come back next Saturday to paint the white parts of the building.

We would like to say a big thank you to all of the people who were involved in this very special day and we would also like to thank UK charity Volunteer in Brazil Lancashire, Atados and Thamyrys Paz for the financial help in buying the painting materials.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the improved appearance of the school will help us to attract a new group of students from neighbouring favelas Fallet, Fogueteiro and Morro dos Prazeres. In other words, this means even more youngsters learning to play trumpet, clarinet, percussion, jazz and samba in Santa Teresa!

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A quick up date from Tom


Friday, 22 January 2016

Thank you to Alison Hawthorne, Vivace Strings and Solihull Music Service

It has been said before and it needs saying again: Favela Brass has great friends!

Professional double bass player and Doncaster Youth Jazz Association alumnus Alison Hawthorn now runs Vivace Strings, a youth orchestra, as part of Solihull Music Service. Just before Christmas Alison organized a public concert and a cake sale with staff and parents to raise money for Favela Brass. The events not only raised £230, but also yielded a donation of a trumpet to the project from Solihull Music Service!

Our success as a project is totally dependent on acts of kindness such as these. All of the shows, recordings and parades only become possible if the children are receiving the tuition necessary to learn to play their instruments, which in turn requires funding: with funding we can buy in local professional teachers to cover the gaps that we can’t meet with our volunteer staff, and with funding we can also attract more volunteer teachers by offering them a better deal in terms of help with accommodation and living costs.

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Sheep or goats?

Elias, a young farmer studying at the Agricultural College in Cristino Castro, is up and running with his new project.

Like many other young farmers in the region Elias is hoping to stay on his family farm and make a living from the land.

Sheep or Goats?

Sheep or Goats?

With the financial support of VinB and the technical support of Oliveira Elias has embarked on a new venture to raise animals that can thrive in semi arid conditions.

But can you tell whether his animals are sheep or goats?

In fact they are sheep!

But many a visitor to the region would easily make the mistake of identifying them as goats. Goats are also reared in the region but they are more difficult to rear because of their ‘adventurous’ nature. Sheep are more passive and docile.

We look forward to receiving updates on Elias’s flock

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