Worst drought for 50 years

The north east of Brazil is experiencing one of the worst droughts for 50 years

One of our great friends and beneficiary of VinB’s micro loan programme is Miguel Lopes Mendes. Miguel is doing all that he can to try to keep his crops and cattle alive as Cristino Castro, like many places in the state of Piaui, is enduring another serious drought.

DSC_2001 (1232)Miguel takes stock of the fields around Boa Esperanca where he farms.

His fields should be green and vibrant with life at this time of year but low rainfall has resulted in limited and weak growth.

Miguel and his family have struggled through many poor rainy seasons but many farmers have had enough and have left the land looking for work wherever they can find it.

Lets hope that in the final couple of months of the rainy season the rains will bring life to this barren land!



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Landed in Rio

Dave and Shelagh Richardson have landed safely back in Rio.

Preparations for Carnival are well under way and within hours of landing Dave & Shelagh were busy supporting the young people at the project to ready themselves for their participation in the iconic pre-Lenten festival.

For the young people participation in the world’s most famous carnival will be full of many different emotions. Fear of performing in front of thousands; delight at having the opportunity to do so; gratefulness for the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers who have made their participation possible.

As we get closer to the opening day nerves will be heightened but Dave & Shelagh will help to keep both staff and young people firmly grounded on terra firme.

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A Fish Farming Pioneer

Learning through experience and technical support

SL274414Antonio Neto (seen here with his family, VinB trustees and friends from Manchester & Slovakia) is a fish farming pioneer in the region of Cristino Castro.

Antonio took a big risk and invested what he had in a bore well and fish pond.

Since his initial investment over seven years ago Antonio says that he has learned a great deal and if he were to start a again he would go about things very differently. Antonio took the opportunity to go on a fish breeding course delivered at the local Agricultural College: “Now I know how to improve production” say Antonio and he has asked VinB to provide him with a micro loan to make those improvements.

Fish farming provides a vital source of income and nutrition for local people.

We will keep you posted on developments.

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A new year – a new mission

Dave & Shelagh Richardson are returning to Rio to lend a helping hand

Having spent much of January helping to paint the Church at Lee House Dave & Shelagh are packing their bags ready to set off on another mission Flying hometo help young people from marginalised communities to prepare and participate in Rio’s famous carnival.

Working along side Tom Ashe (a musician from Yorkshire) and Beth Sarlo ( the coordinator of the project), Dave & Shelagh will place all their many talents and abilities at the service of the young people.

In the run up to departure they are trying to cram as many brass instruments into their suitcases as possible – sent by Tom’s mum via schools in Doncaster. If you happen to have an instrument going spare do let us know!

I am sure you would like to join me in hoping their hips can hold out to the physicality of Carnival.


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Contemplatives in Action – A Lenten Programme

We now have the dates for our Lenten Programme

CAFOD Lancaster and Salford, the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice and Volunteer in Brazil invite you to attend a special Lenten Programme. The programme will enable participants to explore their spiritual journey and the role that justice plays in that journey.  You will come to a deeper understanding of your spiritual background and identify the major influences on your faith journey and the values that sustain you. You will explore and capture your personal story in the context of wider historical and theological movements.

The programme has been designed for people who support organisations and charities that work for justice at home and overseas. It will take place over five evenings and two days throughout Lent. Thursday evenings of the 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th March & Tuesday 15th April. Saturdays: 29th March & 12th April 2014

The first evening will take place at the Tabor Retreat Centre in Fulwood, Preston 7:00 to 9:00pm. For more information please contact the course leaders: Joe Howson & Mark Rotherham. Tel: 01772 782381      email: joehowson@googlemail.com

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