Saturday, November 27, 2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY “TIO” GREGORY!

Smiling faces of our youngest Hummingbirds.
The smiling faces of the children at Hummingbird are worth more than any quantity of gold or diamonds.

“If we can save the life of just one child from a destiny on the streets then we will have accomplished a great deal.”


Like the Hummingbirds, birthdays come and go in great quantity at our prevention and recuperation centre in São Paulo! With so many children connected to the programme, happily to say, we also have many birthdays to celebrate. Today I feel honoured to be the one being celebrated. It’s on moments like this that I appreciate the year gone by and each year to come.

My parents even called from England to congratulate. My mother was concerned about me feeling lonely as the years pass by, so far away from family and friends. It’s seldom I see them these days as I have already celebrated 11 birthdays here at Hummingbird. But lonely…? At least that gave me good laugh! This was really not the right day to ask such a question, with 600 kids passing through the centre each week, most of whom were present today just to say “Happy Birthday “Tio” Gregory!” Not to mention my four little grandchildren, who come here nearly every day just to give me a kiss on the cheek to make sure I have a “Bom dia!”

How on earth is it possible to feel lonely in my position? With so many people around me 24 hours a day, I sometimes wish I could find a secluded island to go hide myself away. But then again, I would probably miss all the smiling faces of those multi-coloured “Hummingbirds”, worth more than any deserted island treasure.

So thanks everyone for remembering my 52nd. It’s on moments like this that I feel we have really accomplished a great deal and saved many children from a destiny on the streets. Seeing all of them around me on a day like today, with each and every one of them growing healthy and strong, makes this far more attractive than any lonely, deserted island.

Happy Birthday “Tio” Gregory
Happy Birthday “Tio” Gregory

What a wonderful birthday cake, decorated with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers. To me, each flower represents the golden smiles on the faces of every child in our programme. One can really do nothing but smile!


Among all the beautiful cards and letters I received today, the following message on a simple card from a former street kid brought tears to my eyes:

“You have shared with me your friendship, which has grown over the years and together we have learnt to overcome the difficulties, the joys and the sorrows. During my life I have learnt that a friendship more precious than yours doesn’t exist. You are very special!”


Feliz Aniversário everyone!
You are all very special to me too.



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Basic Scholarships – USD$40.00 - $50.00 per month

Aimed at impoverished younger children participating in our Street Migration Prevention Programme, normally aged between 11 and 14 years of age. This scholarship guarantees their active participation at the Hummingbird Activity Center alongside their essential attendance in public schools. The scholarship helps combat child labor in high-risk families by preventing these children becoming new victims. The scholarship is awarded to those in particularly difficult life situations where survival often becomes a more important factor than the child’s educational needs and mental and physical health. As a regular sponsor you will have the opportunity to stay in contact with your scholarship holder and to follow the changes your sponsorship will be making in this child's life.

Intermediate Scholarships - USD$60.00 - $70.00 per month

This youth scholarship is aimed at developing vocational interests in young people as they grow with our programme, guaranteeing their commitment and eventually leading them on towards an advanced scholarship. A firmer step towards their personal life project. As a regular sponsor you will have the opportunity to stay in contact with your scholarship holder and to follow the changes your sponsorship will be making in this young person's life.

Advanced Scholarship - USD$80.00 - $100.00 per month

Aimed to inspire older youth reach their potential in whatever area they are developing natural or acquired abilities in programmes at the Hummingbird Activity Centre. The scholarship can be used to cover costs for supplementary, external educational courses or for extra training sessions and materials. Such funds would otherwise be an impossible priority for them to obtain within an impoverished family situation. As a regular sponsor you will have the opportunity to stay in contact with your scholarship holder and to follow the changes your sponsorship will be making in this young person's life.

"THE RICH MUST LIVE MORE SIMPLY SO THAT THE POOR MAY SIMPLY LIVE." - Mahatma Gandhi