Wednesday, December 22, 2004

WHAT’S YOUR WISH FOR THIS CHRISTMAS?

What’s your wish for this Christmas?What’s your wish for this Christmas?

But is your wish for Christmas compatible with theirs?


“And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong, for rich and the poor ones, the world is so wrong.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, let's hope it's a good one, without any fear”
- Yoko Ono & John Lennon


As yet another Christmas rapidly approaches us, so do the screaming needs of the many children still living on the streets of the big cities. Reflecting over the needs of impoverished and underprivileged people, we are constantly obliged to question our own attitudes, especially during this week of Christmas celebration. Whilst entire populations around the world are spending more than ever before, profiting those who already have far more than their fair share in such an unfair society, millions of children still have nothing more to expect from Father Christmas than just another day of suffering.

So, are your wishes for Christmas compatible with theirs?

Mahatma Gandhi’s words are still appropriate today, even more so than when he first spoke them:
“THE RICH MUST LIVE MORE SIMPLY SO THAT THE POOR MAY SIMPLY LIVE.”


A simple rule, which if abided to, would signify changes, and with that I mean big changes for many of those innocent children still suffering on the streets, who probably would never have even reached that point in the first place had we all taken heed of Gandhi’s simple, humane philosophy.

Robison and Eduardo, two streetkids in 1998.
Robison and Eduardo were just two of the many children living on the streets of São Paulo in 1998, until CARF took action . . .

Children of the streets all over the world are probably this very moment reaping the benefits of our bad conscience, picking up the left-over change at the traffic junctions in every big city, whilst the really heavy cash flows freely as never before in the mega shopping centres of those same cities.

But have you ever stopped and thought about their wishes for Christmas? Questioned if your petty cash at the crossroads will really help them realise those dreams? I doubt very much! So why not join forces and channel those millions of insignificant donations (which when united become quite significant amounts) to the organisations dedicated to social change. Then surely many of those very same children will receive real opportunities and fulfil not only their Christmas wishes, but also their profound desire to lead new and dignified lives.

The Children At Risk Foundation – CARF is just one of those organisations willing to invest in what seems to be a pretty hopeless situation for the many children living on the streets in Brazil. But as we know that things are not as hopeless as they seemingly appear and that our past actions have also proven otherwise, we choose to continue investing in those children in the hope that many more of you will join our efforts.

Eduardo is gradually becoming a productive citizen   Robison is gradually becoming a productive citizen
Thanks to our supporters and our efforts, Eduardo and Robison have gradually broken the vicious circle of survival in which they were imprisoned. Handouts on the streets sustained their abuse of heavy drugs and tragic lyfestyle instead of sustaining the programme which helped rescue them.

Please don’t support a child from your car window, you will be supporting poverty and sustaining an inhuman lifestyle, just like all those who did nothing more than to sustain kids like Eduardo and Robison above, imprisoned in their vicious circle of abandonment. Instead channel those “insignificant” handouts to CARF Brasil or any other organisation of your preference, so that your action becomes a significant contribution in the hands of those capable of making the necessary changes to the lives of those still suffering.

I take this opportunity to thank all of you who have generously supported our actions during the last year and hope that you will continue to follow us in 2005, in our mission to defend the rights of abandoned street children and other children at risk, offering them a dignified and definitive solution so that they may live and grow within a family-oriented context and healthy social environment.

Please feel free to channel any left-overs you may have from this year’s Christmas shopping by simply clicking on old Santa here. I guarantee you that he will certainly put your money to work in the right direction for the children. - Gregory J. Smith, Founder, CARF.


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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