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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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 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.



 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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Curry & Samba!

Who would have thought that Indian curry, Brazilian Samba and a Yorkshire man would be the mix to enable young people to learn to play music!

Tom Ashe, a musician from England, works with young people at the To Ligado project in Santa Teresa, helping them to participate in the the rich musical traditions of Brazil.

To help finance the purchase of instruments Tom runs a curry club once a week. So the next time that you are Rio and you fancy a curry then do make your way to Tom’s place for a night of Indian curry and Brazilian Samba served up by a hairy Yorkshire man!

You can find out more about Tom and his work at: http://en-tomashe.blogspot.com.br/

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A stunning image

that had to be shared…thanks to Dave.

Inspired by Tom Ash

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Wow Samba Band on TV

I think you will agree that the film captures beautifully, the joy, the enthusiasm, the pride, and dedication of everyone involved with the band.

Beth hopes that from watching it we will get the same thrill as they. I certainly felt the thrill of it and also an immense sense of pride in those involved. What a confidence builder for the children to have their achievements recognised by the wider community

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Tom and his samba band hit the high notes

A couple of years ago Beth was lamenting the fact that she had a good collection of  musical instruments but no musician to  engage  the youngster in playing them.

Along came Tom a professional musician  from Doncaster UK to excite and  inspire  the children with his patience, sense of fun and huge talent to persevere through the  early stages of learning an instrument, to discover the fun and fulfillment of playing as a band.

With performances, articles in  local papers the band is going from strength to strength.

Tom Ash and group

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Living in Rio and never been to the beach

Dave our volunteer in Rio has added a little more detail to the beach trip.

fin At least 2 of the children had never been to a beach before and most never that close to Sugar Loaf mountain. The hardest part of the day was getting them out of the sea when it was time to leave. Any doubts we may have had about the value of these trips out  were quickly dispelled. It was great to see the children allowed to be children for a short time Dave

I was shocked to learn that some children had not visited the beach despite  living so close, but more shocked by  the assumptions I make about other peoples lives.

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Self catering,getting lost…loving every minute

Dave & Shelagh
Great newsy journal update from Dave and Shelagh who are now into their third week at the Living & Learning project in Rio.

First Week.
Arrived tired but safe to be picked up at the airport by Beth. Lots of hugs. 4 big bags packed with teaching resources and some musical instruments for Tom (much much cheaper in the UK than Brasil). One bag weighed 28 kilos – good old TAP. Drive to the house in Santa Teresa to meet the landlady – a friend (and fellow Psychologist) of Beths. Quick Beer at midnight at the local bar then straight to sleep- very hard bed but made no difference ! ! Have our own shower/toilet and share kitchen, living spaces with 4 others – Richard (English), Anna (half English/Portugeuse), Sylvain (French) and Hamilton (Brasilian).

Dave up early to go to shops for bread. Took a wrong turn out of the gate and…. Continue reading

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Volunteers greeted by friends old and new

Dave and Shelagh return
Volunteers Dave and Shelagh received a wonderful warm welcome from all involved in the Living & Learning project when they returned last week for a further two months.
As you can see, Shelagh has already got busy making masks ready for the Halloween party.

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Favela childhood…best ever

Surprise and relief was my response to Martina’s chat, with two youngsters from the Living & Learning project,  about  growing  up in a favela.  Sometimes the day to day normality of favela life is lost in the media focus on violence. It is also important to bear in mind that the level of law and order in the favelas varies from area to area and one account does not depict all favelas.

L&LfinThis is Djalma and Jorge. Best friends. Ordinary teenagers entering into adulthood full of dreams and plans. With just one difference – they were brought up in a favela.

“It was the best childhood ever, I wouldn’t change it for anything!” they say in unison. “Our community (favela) was one big playground, we used to play all day – football, hide and seek and other games. We played ‘til our mums would shout at us “come back home, you have to wake up early for the school tomorrow!” They continue: “You know; it’s different if you live in one of those big buildings in the town – you don’t have such liberty; you don’t have that many friends; you don’t even know your neighbours! In the favela it’s exactly the opposite – everybody is on the street, chatting with each other and you have so many friends!”

Continue reading

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