Pope Francis to visit Rio in July

popeFrancisPope Francis has announced in his Palm Sunday homily that he will be attending the Catholic youth gathering in Rio de Janeiro in July.  According to the BBC report

… he will be saying Mass on Copacabana and praying at the Christ the Redeemer statue.

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The truth about the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio

This YouTube video tells a very interesting story of how the World Cup 2014 and the Olympics are being used by big business, politicians and the police (all intimately connected) to remove the poor from their homes to provide business opportunities for the wealthy.

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Radical ideas on fund raising from Dan Pallotta

In this video Dan Pallotta suggests that if charity fund raising is to meet the needs of the world we must  ditch the idea that raising charity funding  is somehow a pure activity and  start using  ‘for profit business’ tools  such as investment in advertising,  recruitment and maybe shareholders.

Convinced?  Then read Phil Bucchanan’s article.

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Olympiad, a monopoly of a few.

banco-imobiliario-cidade-olimpicaThe City of Rio de Janeiro in buying and distributing the game Monopoly: Olympic City in municipal schools in the city. The act is so absurd that generated negative reactions in the population, such as the letter of repudiation of students IPPUR / UFRJ (Research Institute of Urban and Regional Planning of the Rio de Janeiro – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.The letter seeks the law of Guidelines and Bases of Education that determines, in its second paragraph that “Education, duty of the family of and of the State, based on the principles of freedom and the ideals of human solidarity, aims at the full development of the learner, his preparation for the exercise of citizenship and his qualification for the job, “, to show that the toy does not contribute to the intellectual formation of students and citizens about the urban space of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Instead, the game practically naturalized competitiveness for accumulation and speculation when, in its dynamics, generates expectations of economic gains from urban interventions undertaken by the state.

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Full Circle

It is wonderful to hear that Thais, a former student of the Living and Learning Project has now returned as a teaching assistant (monitor). She was at the project when our very first volunteer Tom Ingam was in post in 2006. Having completed her formal education she is returning to the project to support other young people in their learning journeys.

Thais LimaThais is to Tom’s left in the first picture and on the far right in the second.

Thais Lima 2




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Would you die for your beliefs ?

During our time at the project in Rio we met many of the landless people(MST) who were living at the convent whilst studying at the local university.  Despite the obvious language and cultural differences we soon became sympathetic to their cause and greatly impressed by their devotion to the cause.

Monument to MST made by Niemeyer

Monument to MST made by Niemeyer

There is a rising global trend by multi-national corporations to “buy up” surplus land as investments – according to the 1996 census statistics,hhh just 3% of Brazil’s population owns two thirds of all arable land in the country. The land owned by the 3% is often left unused, under populated or turned over to the commercial  production of extensive cropping such as bio fuels.

In short, the MST strives to achieve a social covenant providing a self-sustainable way of life for the poor.  It could also be argued that the depopulation of the rural areas further exacerbates the problems of increased urbanisation of cities.

The 3% continue to ruthlessly protect their interests as the following article reported earlier this year illustrates.

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Working Together

Fabiana familyThe children at St Mary’s Primary School in Chipping have been ‘connected’ with children in Brazil for a number of years. Their relationship with the people of Brazil is being further developed by the support that they are providing for the family of Similde and Fabiana who live in the countryside surrounding Cristino Castro.

The children at St Mary’s have their own vegetable garden at school that will spring into life in the next few weeks whilst the resources that they have provided will enable new life to flow in the semi arid region where Similde and Fabiana produce vegetables for the local market. They are looking forward to sharing their knowledge of growing vegetables with the green fingered children in Chipping!

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Congratulations to Pope Francis champion of the disenfranchised

Pope francis


Let’s hope his voice is frequent, loud and clear when leading on social and economic injustice.

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Save Syria’s Children – Act now!

save the childrenYesterday, I  commented  that protests have to threaten the position of those in power to have a chance of bringing change. Public protests can bring change but they have to be large scale.

Since Sunday I’ve been haunted by a  ‘Save the Children’ report  on  the plight of children in Syria and how they are so afraid when bombs are being dropped and the fighting is close that they wet themselves.



On 14 March 2013 – the eve of the second anniversary of the conflict’s outbreak – we want to mobilise people worldwide to demand action.

At our Global Vigil for Syria thousands of candles will be lit, in 20 countries around the world. Each flame will commemorate those who have lost their lives and spread the hope we all have for a peaceful future for all of Syria’s children.

At the same time, we’ll launch a Virtual Vigil to send a message to the world’s five most powerful leaders. Join us in demanding they unite to help bring peace to Syria.

Use Twitter and Facebook to add your message to our campaign. On 14 March we’ll launch your messages at the same moment in various time zones.

By harnessing the power of the internet, our global campaign will send a powerful message no president or prime minister will be able to ignore.

Sign the petition Join our Global Virtual Vigil

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The spread of the BBQ protest!

Annoyed by the lack of progress on issues that matter to you? Well, as reported by the FT, you could follow the Brazilian lead and organise a mass BBQ protest.  All you have to do is broadcast a time and location on Facebook (or some other suitable social media site) and wait for the party to begin.

barbequeProtestNaturally, if you can bring your own portable BBQ and suitable BOOM BOX it will all add to the festival atmosphere!

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