Shop online….. support children…no extra cost

Shopping on-line for Christmas?  You could support our projects in Brazil by using   EasyFundRaising.

This is a service that enables you to shop online with your favourite stores at no extra cost and at the same time raise vital funds for the children of the Living and Learning Project in Rio de Janeiro.

Just  a minute or two to set up … which you could do now.

Once you know how easy it is,  do please pass the idea to your on-line  shopper family and friends. I have used it for two years and it works well.

This Christmas we have set ourselves the challenge of persuading twenty more people to contribute in this way!  Will you be one?

Share Button

StreetSmartBrazil…why I’m such a fan

Want to learn Portuguese ? I did !  There are many good sites to choose from but I recommend that you  go straight to ‘StreetSmartBrazil’  run by Luciana Lage and her team.  Together they have built an evolving content and media rich learning environment  and nurtured a supportive community into being.  In so doing, they have  created  a personalised  and  effective Portuguese language learning experience which I think is unique in its breadth and depth.

A little over three years ago, I started out as a mature learner with no second language learning experience, no natural ability and no confidence! However,  I did have time and a great desire to be able to talk with the people we were partnering and to understand a little more their day to day life.  This interest has  since grown into a curiosity about  the culture, politics and  geography of the country,  in fact to all things Brazilian and ‘StreetSmartBrazil’ is a key supporter in this wider learning.

It is difficult to be concise about the  distinguishing element of StreetSmartBrazil but it is for me the expertise,  passion, and warmth which  pervades the teaching  and the notion of   ‘no mistakes just learning opportunities‘.  Which for a late newcomer is a huge  confidence builder.

So whatever your language requirement…  check out StreetSmartBrazil.

Share Button

Djair…. talks about the Living & Learning Project

A somewhat uninspiring building which you might pass without a second glance and that would be a shame because this is home to the Living & Learning Project . Looks a bit lonely at the moment but  the children and the monitors bring it to life when they gather here in the afternoons.  Children such as Djair, who now takes up the story from the inside…

Hello, I live in the community Fogueteiro and am 14 years old. I have been at the project for  1 ½ years and intend to stay for one more year.


The  project begins at 14:30 pm and ends at 18:00 h.  What I like most is hockey and English. It is very important because it makes my learning easier and it is much better than  staying in the community doing nothing. The money that was raised for the project could be used to fix things that are broken, purchase classroom materials that are missing  and to go on really cool trips. I am very grateful to the volunteers and to all  the people who support and help  us. 

When I graduate I want to follow professional  journalism and be able to travel around the world. Who knows one day you may hear about me .. Djair

Share Button

Sao Paulo, Blair and a £3.7m contract

It is interesting how Tony Blair is getting about in Brazil (well São Paulo to be more precise) and according to Robert  Mendick, of the  Telegraph, it  began at the World Economic Forum in  April 2011. Though a little research reveals that things had already got started by February of 2010 when he was invited to be a paid consultant to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  This was much to the disgust of Paul Coelho; celebrated writer and member of the team that won the nomination for Brazil. Later that same year (Oct 2010) Tony Blair was at the Anhembi Morumbi University in Sao Paulo to address the students on the importance of education to the continued success of Brazil’s economy.

In August of this year Tony Blair shared a platform with Bill Clinton and Fernando  Cardoso (former president) at an event in Sao Paulo  hosted by Itaú BBA,  an investment bank, to discuss  foreign views of Brazil and Brazilian views of abroad.

Then, in the Telegraph we read that Tony Blair has signed a contract with Sao Paulo State.

The project in São Paulo state, an area larger than the UK and with a population of more than 40 million, is costing 12million Brazilian reals (£3.7million), according to Mr Camarano.

I wonder what Paul Coelho makes of that?

Share Button

Congratulations to Monica and family

Monica, indispensible senior monitor at the Living and Learning project is proud to present her beautiful new granddaughter.

We send our good wishes to all the family.

Maybe when Monica has time she will tell us her name and a little more about her.

Share Button

Konstantin.. Weitblick and a vision of love

From time to time I have wondered how  the link between the Living and Learning project and  the volunteers  from Germany came about.  I was made more curious by a recent  post on the project blog reporting a fundraising event organised  by the students at Berlin University.   It’s an interesting story .

It begins  in 2009 with a gap year volunteer  called  Konstantin, who went  with an exchange agency and  stayed at the convent for two weeks, whilst learning Portuguese and generally  preparing  for his   placement as a gardener,  in a project in Nova Friburgo about 136 Kilometres from Rio.

During his stay at the convent he  become interested in the Living & Learning project and hankered after returning to the convent to work with  children rather than plants.  With Beth,  Regina and the agency’s agreement  he transferred to the project and stayed for  eight months.  During which time he quickly became an invaluable and much  loved member of the community.

We were fortunate to meet  Konstantin during a visit to the project  in 2010, shortly before he returned home to Germany.  He  treated the group to  a very special rendition of  the children singing ‘Imagine’ which he had taught the children in English.

On his return to Berlin, Konstantin  began  to bring the needs of the children he had worked with to the attention of his family, friends and fellow students  at  ‘Weitblieck’ Berlin.  A student organisation  that  ‘promotes and supports equitable access to education worldwide’.  Other volunteers   inspired by Konstantin  followed including his sister Veronica, Josephine,  Marcus and Andrea   who just   recently completed a placement with the project and was a good support and friend  to Shelagh and Dave.

Over time the commitment and efforts  of these volunteers persuaded Weitblick (Berlin)  to adopt the Living & learning project and in September a fund raising concert  was held . Called the ‘Weitbeat’ during the evening the students  listened  and danced  to the sounds of Brazil performed by the Sambadélico band and were enthralled by a Capoeira performance.

This event along with others has contributed to the amazing sum of  £2000.00 being sent to the project.   It is interesting to know the story of how  people become  involved with the project;  it seems to be rarely  planned but  somehow more than just a co-incidence.

The  organisation’s name ‘Weitblick’  translate as  ‘vision’ or ‘far seeing’.


Share Button

Gabriel…can’t stay away

“We have the great joy to have him with us again”, was Beth’s  response to  Gabriel’s recent return to the Living & Learning project.  Gabriel now a veteran volunteer first went to Rio in 2008, returning to the UK to continue  his undergraduate studies at Oxford.  When asked by the editor for his reflection on changes since his last visit, he sent the following observations.

Voltei! I’m back again! This is my 4th time in Brazil and at the project and I’m just as excited as I was the first time. There’s been some changes since I was here a year ago with Will and Georgia. The main change is that there are three great new monitors, and a new cook. I actually taught one of them, Nayara, when she was a student at the project the first time I came out here so it was great to see her. There’s also been some major redecoration. The convent has a beautiful new reception room, done to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of the Assumption in Brazil. Sister Regina tells a wonderful history of the convent like it’s the life story of a person.                                                                                                                                                      Down on the project Dave is one elusive tool away from completing a total overhaul of the kitchen. Beautifully tiled, several coats of paint to make the walls washable and new cabinets makes it unrecognisable from a year ago.

Other, important things, haven’t changed. Beth, Monica ,and Sister Regina are still here putting their time and effort into transforming the funds raised over in the UK into a school and community for 35 children. It’s great to be back and see the project doing so well despite the challenges it’s faced over the last year. Gabriel

We look forward to hearing more from Gabriel and also wish him success in his search  for a  job in the  bio fuels industry!

Share Button

A leaving..but a cause for celebration.

‘It all happened so  quickly’, reported  Beth.

Back in England we heard that within a  week  Wellington had announced he would be leaving the project to take up a  new job in Government  Procurement and  that   Beth and team  had organised a  ‘leaving do’  to  fit very  aptly,  into  the  Children’s Day party.   Shelagh, a current volunteer, was  there when the news was made public and recalls the event.

When Beth announced he was leaving Davi threw himself on the floor ! Wellington made a speech , Ianca gave a speech then all the kids ran up to hug him!

I met Wellington  several times during his six years with the project and I was always  struck by his dedication, which is reflected along with other attributes  in the children’s  tributes.

“When I arrived in the project and  met Wellington I saw immediately that he was a nice person. All of us will feel the lack of him, sending people to go inside, make copies, and throwing  down for lunch” three cuts “with us. When he he gave the news, I and the entire project were very sad, but he will always be in our hearts. – Djair

 “Wellington, you’re gone but you left many intelligent students – far more experts and scholars. You were very annoying, but mostly you were cool with us. Allowed students who were already experts even more , always giving lots of scolding , but when we all needed help or were in doubt, you always helped us. Always intelligent and a good monitor. thank you! “- Gabriela

Wellington was a great monitor. He explained very well the homework. When I joined the project Wellington has taught me many things.  Thelmo

After 6 years as a monitor in the project, our dear Wellington left us Wellington. Despite missing him, we’re happy that he was able to go to a good job, where he will continue studying to do public procurement.   Beth

Disappointing and inconvenient as it  is when a key member of staff  moves on, Wellington’s move  does demonstrate  how Beth has built a community where  everyone  thrives and develops.


Share Button

A convent with a view and a new career for Shelagh

Join Shelagh as she takes  us a  bird’s eye view  of  the volunteer house,  the local Santa Teresa   district  and then further afield to the iconic sights of Rio.

Share Button

Oh dear what can the matter be ?

What mishap could have caused   our   happy go  lucky, nothing’s  a problem Dave to  look so fed up.  Clue: a  ball and a pack of 11 ? Be the first one to answer correctly and win a mystery prize.

Share Button