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’.