Saturday, November 27, 2004


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.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Interaction between street children and CISV youth in Lisbon 1992
Interaction between street children and CISV youth in Lisbon 1992. - Who’s better qualified to lead the way?

Sustainable development for future generations begins with our children.

Following-up on one of my earlier postings, "Journey to an Unknown World", I would like to share with you a little more of our recent experience of Cross-cultural Global Interaction between children from the developed world (Norway) and children of Hummingbird’s Street Migration Prevention Programme in Brazil. Without doubt, this interaction coincides with the vision of our organization, calling for further actions and stronger support so that even more children can gain access. In doing so, facilitating the creation and development of their own ideas for social change on a global level.

The benefits gained from interaction between children from the developed world and those who temporarily depend on our actions, makes global thinking not just a means but also a real necessity.

Sowing the seeds of peace.
Street children and CISV youth in Lisbon 1992. - Sowing the seeds of peace through Cross-cultural Global Interaction

Back in 1992, during my commitment as a parent and leader with the international CISV (Children’s International Summer Villages) in Norway, I was questioning the why’s and how’s to develop an exchange programme, where impoverished children from developing countries could have access, participating and contributing with their own life values. Why should the promotion of peace only be reserved for the wealthy? Is it to be that only the views of the privileged classes shall dominate and be decisive for world peace? If so, then we are doing a rather inadequate job of things, and certainly not one in accordance with the desires of most young people.

During a short stay in Lisbon, prior to my coming to Brazil, I organized an experimental interaction between street children there and youth members of the Lisbon group of CISV. There was certainly a need to shorten the gap between the privileged and the impoverished, which even in one of Europe’s less wealthy countries was clearly visible.

Closing the gap between the privileged and the impoverished
Street children and CISV youth in Lisbon 1992. - Closing the gap between the privileged and the impoverished.

Global instability, conflict and war have their main roots in poverty and the extreme socio-economic and socio-cultural differences profound in many developing countries today. The distance between rich and poor is steadily increasing and, as a parallel to all this, the negative consequences are seriously affecting our societies. Violence, corruption and the progressive egoism on both sides make this survival game nothing less than a perverse show of political and public incompetence.

In the meantime our children will keep on suffering; impoverished children, having to withstand a total lack of basic needs along with the fact that their international rights are constantly infringed. The more privileged children, who although have an abundance of what the other half don't have, still suffer from other deficiencies and frustrations common in their society.

So who’s better qualified to lead the way?

Former street children from Brazil teaching Capoeira in Norway
Former street children from The Hummingbird Project in Brazil lead the way teaching young people the art of Capoeira in the town square of Bergen in Norway.

In Norway we have had an incredibly positive experience with our Capoeira Exchange Programme, which is now running into its fifth year. Our Hummingbird Capoeira Centre has been training children and young people for more than ten years. Capoeira is our principal programme for the recuperation of street children. Some of the first children to leave the streets in 1993 are now young adult instructors at the centre, which today attends approx. 250 children in its activities. Through self-development and the experience gained from their own activities at Hummingbird, former street children have inspired the creation of a Norwegian based Capoeira Academy called Capoeira na Chuva together with young people in Norway.

Youth from the Norwegian Capoeira Club
Former street kid Fabio (lying on the floor at centre) was one of our youth trainers leading the first Capoeira Workshop for Norwegian youth in Bergen in 2000.

Today Capoeira na Chuva (Capoeira in the Rain) has approx. seventy regular members and facilitates regular visits for youth trainers from the Hummingbird Capoeira Centre in cooperation with CARF Norway. Each summer our youth trainers lead a Capoeira Workshop in Bergen for the group’s members and also to attract new-beginners to this remarkable sport. This year members of the group came for a ten-day visit to Hummingbird. Hopefully this interaction between youngsters involved in Capoeira, on both sides of the globe, will produce fertile grounds for a clearer understanding of each other’s reality.

Young hopeful talents cross the boarderline for new experiences
Young talented players from Hummingbird’s Football Club have embraced the opportunity to participate with Norwegian youth at a football training school in Spain.

We recently initiated a similar action with youngsters from Hummingbird’s Football Club, which has resulted in six of our players travelling to Norway and Spain for three months, interacting with Norwegian youth at a football training school in Mallorca. The school, Team Football Talent, are themselves sponsoring the boys for their entire stay and it is independent initiatives for global interaction like this one that we value highly. Hopefully the experience will not only be of great personal benefit to our participants, but will also have an impact on all those involved in this admirable cross-cultural initiative.

Opportunities for our young people, to become part of something in totally contrasting environments, such as those offered in Norway and Spain, have already made an impact on their lives and helped them realize that their contribution is also highly valued by those who grow up under much more privileged living conditions than they themselves are doing.

Håkon and Sunniva visiting Roger’s family in one of the many favelas surrounding Hummingbird.
Håkon and Sunniva from Norway spent a busy week getting to know the realities of life for many of the impoverished children connected to CARF’s Street Migration Prevention Programme.

Taking this a step further, the recent visit of two teachers and two 11-year old pupils from Aurdalslia School, one of our Hummingbird supporting schools in Norway, has ploughed new grounds for a better understanding between two entirely different worlds. Taking part in activities at The Hummingbird Activity Centre and seeing and feeling the reality of life in shantytowns and the streets where many of our children come from, has created an entirely different impression in their minds than the more superficial ones commonly served to them through the mass media.

Sunniva was in for many surprises on looking up her new friends from Hummingbird.
That the happy children she got to know at Hummingbird lived under such impoverished conditions made quite an impression on Sunniva. A new experience that may challenge her own values.

As they leave permanent impressions, real-life experiences are of course much more valid than what the mass media can serve us. The obligations born from these memorable personal experiences are also much more difficult to ignore. Our sub-conscience creates a certain compromise with the experience and leads us to take action, one way or the other. On their return home, 11-year old Håkon and Sunniva were met with a storm of questions from their school colleagues after their one-week experience at Hummingbird.

Taking part in activities at The Hummingbird Activity Centre
Håkon and Sunniva took part in most of the activities at The Hummingbird Activity Centre, the base for CARF’s Street Migration Prevention Programme.

Håkon tells us that his first week back at school went OK but that there were so many questions to be answered. He also mentioned that he had some difficulty getting to sleep because he, to be honest, missed everyone at Hummingbird. Sunniva explained that on her first week back at school, she and Håkon had held lectures and that the classrooms had been packed each time. I have told them that they are our most important Ambassadors, a bridge between our two worlds.

Children bridging the gap between two worlds.
Marcos, Sunniva and Franciane, bridging the gap between our two worlds.

The impact of their latest experiences is reflected in their resulting actions and the enormous interest shown by schoolmates, teachers, family members and friends, making their annual Brazil Market a gigantic success, which again resulted in strengthening the financial support for and commitment to our programme. Their interaction with our children in Brazil was a most important move in nurturing their school, which has already been a steady supporting partner of CARF since 1993.

Kids at Hummingbird try their talents at making handcrafts with wool
Their teacher Hilde, taught our children how to make handcrafts in soft Norwegian wool, to be sold at their annual Brazilian Market in Norway the following week. A new and exciting way of painting pictures with wool, explained some of the children, who already sell many of their own colourful paintings at the market.

This expansive activity and resulting beneficial actions by our supporting schools in Norway are clear examples of the compromise created through global interaction between children linked to our programme. For several years now CARF has arranged visits to Norway for children from our programme in Brazil. The objective has always been to create moments of interaction between the two groups, the privileged children of our supporting schools and the impoverished children attended at Hummingbird. These interactions have taken place in the form of Capoeira and folkloric presentations, kite making workshops and open discussion groups, where children from both worlds have contributed.

Baking our daily bread at Hummingbird
Baking one’s daily bread was common in Norway before wealth changed all of that. Now we have taken over this humble tradition, here baking our own healthy bread with Håkon and Sunniva at Hummingbird.

I look forward to an expansion of our global interactions in the near future by arranging possibilities for children to exchange living experiences in each other’s home and school environments, helping them to evaluate and reflect over obvious differences in each other’s cultural reality. We need to discover ways of diminishing human egoism so that children from both worlds can grow up in safe and healthy environments without having to either struggle for survival or waste their material abundance more than is absolutely necessary.

Former Brazilian street children and other at-risk community children lighting their torches of peace in Norway
In 2002, thirteen Brazilian children from Hummingbird visited many of our supporting schools in Norway on an exciting three week tour with Afro-brazilian cultural presentations. Here they light their torches for peace in front of 30.000 people present at the traditional pre-Christmas event in Bergen.

I sincerely believe that actions such as those described above will not only cultivate a more humane and peaceful global community but also reflect in our consumer mentality, ecological preservation of natural resources and the sustainable development of future generations.

Gregory J. Smith
Social Entrepreneur and Founder
The Children At Risk Foundation - CARF

If you are interested in sponsoring our global interactions you are most welcome to contact CARF Brasil

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Gregory J. Smith - Painting the scene behind the canvas
In the poor communities, which are most affected by the violence, the number of people who’s moral and physical integrity has been damaged is really frightening. - Yvonne Bezerra de Mello

This is the hidden face of our war that nobody assumes as being his or her responsibility.

In the following article, our Brazilian colleague and Child Rights Defender, President of Project UERÊ in Rio de Janeiro, Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, touches the surface of a constant war, long silenced by the ignorance of incompetent politicians. Yvonne’s frustrations are shared by those of us face-to-face with such a reality as we strive to reconstruct the lives of children and families trying to survive under extraordinarily difficult conditions - Gregory J. Smith, CARF.

The photos of adults splattered in blood and of wounded children in Iraq, especially the boy without arms, remind us of Mi-Lai and the burnt girl who became a symbol of the atrocities of the wars that only satisfy the egos of the governments that provoke them. This war over the power of Iraqi oil diverted the attention of Brazilians, from the atrocities committed in our own city and our country.

Yes! The newspapers headlines do transmit the war against drug trafficking and our pathetic combat against it, represented by hair-brained and unintelligent declarations from so-called specialists in public security that seem more worried about government intrigues and blunders instead of the population.

The war against drug trafficking and our pathetic combat against it
We need many crutches for the victims wounded by those well-aimed shots or so-called “stray” bullets during police raids.

Blaming the cause on ill-prepared politicians, police and judiciary authorities, unable to deal with the urban violence, the number of victims of our war grows every day. In the poor communities, which are most affected by the violence, the number of people who’s moral and physical integrity has been damaged is really frightening. Some time ago there was a film scene showing hundreds of pairs of crutches being thrown from airplanes to those that had been injured or lost their legs in Afghanistan. We also need those crutches for the victims wounded by those well-aimed shots or so-called “stray” bullets, who find themselves disabled, thrown in a bed, without attendance, with a bullet lodged in their spine or some other vital muscle.

Anonymity and public indifference to violence and death
The anonymity and public indifference to violence and death, are typical of the bureaucratic disregard of the lives and deaths of no-account people, threatening our notions of civil society and human rights.

We need tons of boxes of Gardenol for all those inhabitants who end up with convulsions when shantytowns are attacked by drug traffickers or the police, using that very same violence. One shot is enough to spark off the delirious shouts of children who have already seen their relatives or acquaintances not only hit by gunfire, but also torn apart or burnt alive in the entrance of their own homes. Even worse, are those youngsters on the verge of adolescence, who in loss of all common sense, are obliged to kill to be able to survive. The fear is printed in all their faces.

The boot of a policeman breaking down the door of a house signifies extortion, violence and pain. A message from an outlaw to his family means death, torture or house arrest for undetermined time.

The barbarity installed in our ghettos in reality differs nothing from others such as Warsaw
The barbarity installed in our ghettos in reality differs nothing from others such as Warsaw.

The bullet ridden or mutilated bodies are strewn in the filthy alleyways until somebody decides to ditch them in any old gutter to leave them to sink in the silt, only to be disregarded by all. Or scenes of human body parts being torn apart by the sharp teeth of pigs that are so fat they seem more like horses. They are people of all ages that have to live with the daily pain. They are our army of suffering people whose state of being finds no adequate remedy. Then there are the specialists with their diplomas, comfortably seated in their chairs, anonymous or pretending to not know of this reality.

Adding to this is the hunger, the malnutrition and the precocious death of our children and young people.

Children are excluded and threatened even before they are born
Children are excluded and threatened even before they are born.

The result of it all are the children who do not learn and whose school discrepancy leads them into sub-employment, continuing their exclusion and increasing even more the distance between the social classes in this country. They are youngsters who don’t believe in a future because they are the forgotten ones rarely benefited by crippled or delayed public policy making which changes direction each time a new government is elected and needs to show results. They are adults without jobs who drown in alcoholism and marginality. Better to belong to the drug traffickers than to die of hunger.

They are youngsters who don’t believe in a future because they are the forgotten ones
They are youngsters who don’t believe in a future because they are the forgotten ones.

This is the hidden face of our war that nobody assumes as being his or her responsibility. But everyone seems unanimous in blaming the poor population as the guilty ones, either due to their lack of family planning or the excess of northeastern migrants. Here in our war we also exchange prisoners, we also traffic people whose price tag depends on who the buyer is. Ours is a cynical war where guns, grenades and other heavy weapons arrive every day, arming the cities and the fields to guarantee the status quo of this insane society.

The scene behind the painted canvas is a most complex one.
The scene behind the painted canvas is so complex and the challenges so great, that even the world’s finest artists would have great difficulty in painting a brighter picture.

Scenes such as those from Iraq repeat themselves every day, just here, in front of our very noses. What a shame that our indignation is not so great and enthusiastic as that which we express concerning episodes arising beyond our borders. It is reasonable to think about the reconstruction of Iraq. But who will finance ours?

Yvonne Bezerra de Mello
Yvonne Bezerra de Mello
Child Rights Defender and President of the Project UERÊ
Rio de Janeiro - BRAZIL

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Leonardo baking bread with our office assistant Fabiana, who is also his godchild.
Our dear friend and colleague Leonardo has been mercilessly slain by a jealous killer. Here he is seen with Fabiana and volunteer Harold baking bread.

Leonardo had an appetite for life and wanted to be part of everything. His killer thought indifferently.

It came as a great shock to us that Léo, (Leonardo Henrique Fontoura da Silva), had recently been shot dead at point blank. His unexpected death on November 8th. makes him yet another victim of the meaningless and far too common violence infecting our society.

Léo was a good musician and dancer who enjoyed playing in his own group "Estrela do Samba" together with other friends. His constant participation at nightspots was also a worrying concern for his mother, who preferred him home in the evenings due to the constant violence in our region.
Léo joined our programme as a teenager, as an active participant of our youth group. He also worked as office boy at the Hummingbird Activity Centre during the first year of its development. Eventually he found himself a fixed job, but continued practicing capoeira and dance at Hummingbird, always appearing here with a smile on his face.

His malicious killer had no other reasons for murdering him other than for his success, his joy over life and his girlfriend. Léo’s girlfriend witnessed the killing and he died in her presence after having attempted to scare off the killer only to receive yet another shot whilst the culprit directed shots at her too. As with the majority of such vicious actions, the author still roams freely on the streets in a society permeated with impunity.

Bread bakers at Hummingbird
Leonardo had many friends at Hummingbird, sharing joy over the activities offered there and he will be missed by all. Hopefully our actions will help diminish the violence, a threat to all of them.

Please help us to achieve our goals by making your contribution at the bottom of this page
Please consider making a donation to our Street Children's Memorial Fund at the bottom of this Blog. This fund sustains the programmes of the Hummingbird Activity Centre.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Preventing children from hitting the streets
Preventing more children from hitting the streets is as important as recuperating those already on the streets.

Hummingbird's Street Migration Prevention Programme attends more than 600 children and young people in its activities.

The programmes of The Hummingbird Activity Centre are primarily preventive in nature, directed at community children and young people and promote the confidence, character, competence, and "connectedness" of that population to their family,
peers, and community.

These programmes provide a range of support and services in such areas as vocational training, health education, recreation, cultural tolerance and understanding, racial reconciliation, artistic expression, environmental awareness, and the development of leadership, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills.

The Hummingbird Activity Centre by 7 year old Matheus Aparecido Alves Borges
The Hummingbird Activity Centre drawn by 7 year old Matheus Aparecido Alves Borges.

In addition, the centre supports the demands of rehabilitation programmes serving the needs of street children coming off the streets.

The programmes work to increase global awareness of children and youth issues, strengthen the organizational skills of youth programme leaders, and promote greater knowledge and application of best practices for young people, increasing the effectiveness, scale, and sustainability of proven approaches to meeting young people's needs.

The team of young entrepreneurs leading our prevention programme
Youth Entrepreneurs lead the way: Hummingbird offers opportunities to local youth, training them to become advocates through their own actions for social change in their own community.

In between future postings we will present you with a pictorial view of some of the activities going on at our Hummingbird Activity Centre. The team of young entrepreneurs leading the programme comes from our local community where we attend more than 600 young people and their families. These talented youth mentors have themselves suffered the consequences of poverty and social injustice and are only too well aware of the negative effects this has on their community.

Most of the street children in the city of São Paulo come from underprivileged communities such as the one surrounding our activity centre. It is therefore important that we provide programmes that prevent other at-risk children from hitting the streets.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


11 year old Håkon and Sunniva represent CARF’s youngest supporters
11 year old Håkon and Sunniva from Norway represent CARF’s youngest supporters and have been well prepared for their journey to an unknown world in the middle of São Paulo's cement jungle.

Håkon and Sunniva on the streets of São Paulo. An encounter between two worlds far apart.

Eleven year olds, Håkon and Sunniva, are just two among thousands of school children in Norway who recognize the efforts of our organization in Brazil. As a matter of fact the many school children from the "privileged" world are such an important asset to us that the entire solidarity process behind their actions, in exchange, has also played a significant role in their own education and development as future responsible citizens in our global village.

Building bridges between contrasting realities
Building bridges between children from different realities is an important consideration when thinking global.

These two typical youngsters from the far north suddenly found themselves in an entirely different world, just as contrasting as the radiant colours of their hair and eyes compared with the ebonite equivalent in most Brazilian underprivileged children. They were selected among many like-minded kids in Norway, eager to gain such first-hand knowledge about the problems facing street children. Now they were suddenly face-to-face with the problems that their entire school had sought to understand and diminish during the 10 years they have supported The Hummingbird Project in Brazil.

An unusual experience for both street children and the Norwegians
The inquisitive look on their faces was mutual. Many questions needed answering,...from both sides.

Up until now our youngest supporters have been able to follow the development of CARF’s programmes at a distance, through the educational activities offered to them by our Foundation in Norway. Several schools, where commitment has been long-term, have gained special honours of becoming so-called "Hummingbird" Schools and whose actions have helped us prevent many more children from facing such a tragic destiny of a life on the streets.

A unique learning opportunity with CARF’s founder as their teacher       Glue sniffing is more common amongst the younger kids, but later leading on to crack cocaine.
Facing children in such high-risk situations raises many questions. Here CARF’s founder takes the opportunity to explain to our young observers, how drugs affect street children.

This field experience provided Håkon, Sunniva and their teachers with a unique learning opportunity, a lesson which they will certainly be able to translate into practical actions once back on home territory. Their own school will be realizing a major annual event in support of CARF the week following their return to a country which offers equal opportunities for all children, which far too often are taken for granted by those lucky enough to be on the receiving end. Hopefully, seeing and feeling a quite different reality will help put things into perspective, also an important objective of CARF’s educational work in Norway.

Hilde, their accompanying teacher, soon found out that life can be so very cruel.
Hilde, their teacher, soon found out that life can be so very cruel for some children, more so than she had ever imagined.

Hilde and Magne, the two teachers accompanying Håkon and Sunniva on their rather unusual experience, soon realized that if nothing was done to alleviate the situation, the street children would keep on experiencing things that would most certainly damage their own development, marking them for life and hindering their possibilities to become healthy, functioning and productive citizens. No doubt that a childhood spent on the streets is certainly the best pre-school education towards a criminal future.

Staring into eternity, a far too common look on the face of most children living on the streets.           Finding their way back to dignity is a demanding task
Finding their way back to dignity demands great efforts by people willing to take on the long-term task it is to recuperate children away from the streets. We need your help in doing so. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Where there are ways, there is also a great need for funding.

Please help us to achieve our goals by making your contribution at the bottom of this page
Please feel free to make your contribution at the bottom of this page. With your support we can certainly achieve much more!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Roney and Claudiney
Roney and Claudiney, at risk on the streets of São Paulo

Roney and Claudiney, just two of the many children still on the streets of São Paulo.

Here are just a couple of the children we work with at Hummingbird. Roney and Claudiney are brothers, 11 and 12 years old, although quite small for their age. They both live on the streets in the southern regions of the city of São Paulo, but still have some contact with their alcoholic mother.

Their lives have been pretty much guided by fate and fortune, like most other kids on the streets of the big cities in Brazil. A very unstable childhood during the first few years of their lives, mainly due to their mother’s alcoholism, has led them to spend time in residential care during several periods before they actually ended up hitting the streets full-time.

Alex is also on the streets and is Roney’s cousin
Roney visits Hummingbird together with his cousin Alex, who is also on the streets, obviously things run in the family.

Like many of the children in their situation, time on the streets started off by selling sweets or offering other small services to passing cars at busy crossroads, this type of work being forced upon them by the mother to keep the family economy in balance. With three other smaller children to take care of besides Roney and Claudiney, life has certainly not been easy for their single mother.

Obviously the consequences have been tragic for both brothers, who have now lost out on most of their schooling. The only paperwork they have managed to accumulate during their short lives have been the piles of police reports, public complaints and who knows how many court rulings to have the boys sent back home or put into residential care again. With most of Brazil’s shelters already inundated with at-risk kids, not many are willing to take on the likes of street children such as Roney and Claudiney, who’s demanding behaviour is enough to keep an entire staff on their toes.

Gregory removes a rather smelly shoe from Roney’s foot, only to reveal an even smellier sock
Gregory removes a rather smelly shoe from Roney’s foot, only to reveal an even smellier sock

For the time being the boys use our Hummingbird Activity Centre as a drop-in place, somewhere to spend the day or even a few days rest, which can be most welcoming after long periods of tough life on the streets, where drugs and violence are all too commonplace and can play havoc on their fragile physique.

Claudiney is the older of the two and certainly has more willpower to stay off the streets and participate in the activities offered by us. Alone, he has completed several longer periods at Hummingbird. The negative influence and pressure of his younger, although bigger brother has often caused him to go back to the streets, even when we feel he would have preferred to stay longer. In time, hopefully the two will find equilibrium and continue in the programme.

Claudiney and his cousin Alex, who is also on the streets
Claudiney together with his cousin Alex. Thumbs up at Hummingbird.


Children are at extreme risk on the streets of São Paulo
Children are at extreme risk on the streets of São Paulo

How are CARF'S ideas different to other innovative solutions already practised in the same field of social work?

The difference in our programme is that it offers a definite solution, a goal to be aimed for by the child in concern, already from the very first moments of contact on the streets between the educator and the child. The whole objective being to diminish a strong feeling of neglect and to create in the child a hope for tomorrow linked to a positive family situation (the dream of many a street child), at the same time preserving and strengthening ties (without threatening the relationships) with the child's biological family. The necessity to offer a clearly defined and satisfactory solution to the street child is our response to the lack of such ideals from similar organisations, which still seem to base their programmes on relief work. Many of these programmes create better living conditions on the streets and therefore attract even more children to them.

Children abandoned on the streets of São Paulo
Children abandoned on the streets of São Paulo

The hardcore work of actually recuperating a street child really only starts once the child is off the streets. This includes discovering the life history of each child as far back in time as we are able, including root causes for their abandonment such as racial discrimination. Few organisations are willing to take that stride, or maybe they simply have not discovered that the recuperation and reintegration of such children into our society will only be successful once the child is relieved of his dependency to the streets. Basing our judgement on many years of practical groundwork, we believe this to be greater than any other of their drug dependencies.

CARFs founder with street children on the streets of São Paulo
CARFs founder with street children on the streets of São Paulo

Active child and youth participation in the organization is an essential part of our methodology, including their own implementation and development of programs as creative youth entrepreneurs. These young entrepreneurs or community mentors are themselves young people who have been the victims of either poverty, abandonment, violence, abuse or drugs, and are responsible for most of the onsite work with the children attended by our organization today.

Returning children to a social and family environment
Returning children to a social and family environment

PRINCIPAL ISSUES of The Hummingbird Project:

Offering an concrete alternative for children of the streets
To offer a concrete alternative for children and adolescents living on the streets;

Teaching them ways of living without needing to use drugs
As part of a proposal for their social reinsertion, to detoxicate them and teach them ways of living without needing to use drugs;

Returning them to a social and family environment
To offer a model for the recovery and placement of street children and adolescents returning them to a social and family environment;

Offering bio-psycho-social care and accompaniment to street children
To offer bio-psycho-social care and accompaniment to street children living on the streets of São Paulo and our own municipality Diadema, working within the Principles of Integral Protection in order that they can be offered genuine possibilities of considerably changing their lives, gaining more just conditions in which to develop;

Reintegration into their biological, extended or substitute families
To enable small groups of street children to leave the streets permanently, to be reintegrated into their biological, extended or substitute families;

Preventing street migration of at-risk community children
To attend at-risk community children and those with a "street" profile, and their families, to prevent their migrating to the streets;

Integrating them into positive peer groups
To integrate them into positive peer groups;

Improving the family dynamics of children and youth
To improve the family dynamics of children and youth attended by us;

Promoting legitimate income sources
To promote legitimate income sources;

Reaching 100% attendance at school
To reach 100% attendance at school;

Reduce Police discrimination
To reduce Police discrimination towards the target population.

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.