Thursday, July 28, 2005


Clearing new terrain - the hard-working foot of 7-year old José Roberto.
Clearing new terrain. - The hard-working foot of 7-year old José Roberto.

Taking Hummingbird to the community instead of the community coming to us

Last week was the start-off for a new development in the Hummingbird Project called Beija-Flor na Comunidade (Hummingbird in the Community), which literally means we took Hummingbird to the community instead of the community come to us. In other words, Hummingbird is spreading its wings!

The programme is part of a new strategy being developed by our youth mentors to get a preliminary feel in connection with their objectives to implant small Hummingbird nuclei in the more distant parts of our community, thus bringing our activities to the poorest kids who have no means of reaching our main centre.

The first community to be receiving some of Hummingbird’s vibrant activities was the Sitio Joaninha, which is a rough hilly area about 6 kilometres away from us, where many of the families who used to work on the rubbish tip live. The tip was closed down a few years ago and the area covered with topsoil so as to recuperate some of the natural vegetation.

Most of the shanty homes were constructed during the active years of the tip, when entire families found their livelihoods under the most unhealthy and hazardous working conditions. Since its closure there has been very few alternatives in the way of work and habitation, so very few have been able to move to better conditions. To the contrary; the area has rapidly grown to accommodate even more poverty-stricken families who have no other alternative than to grab a small plot of land and try to survive on what little is available in terms of public amenities in such places.

The majority of homes have no running water and depend on the council delivering drinking water by truck each day. Electricity is acquired through a series of illegal connections, which people have hooked-up to the main electricity network through a maze of literally thousands of metres of wiring crossing the landscape in all directions in order to bring power to one’s home.
This is quite common during the rapid growth of favela (shanty) areas and pressures from the inhabitants will eventually cause most councils to come up with a more satisfactory and less risky solution.

7-year old José Roberto
7-year old José Roberto was so happy to hear about Hummingbird coming to his community that he was more than willing to leave his kites behind to help out with the hard work of cleaning up an area for our visit. He was obviously pretty used to this kind of "job" as you will gather from the main photo of his foot

Bruno, our youngest youth mentor gives lessons to kids from Sitio Joaninha
Bruno (right), is our youngest youth mentor and although only 18 years old he has already gained considerable experience teaching the children at Hummingbird on the instrument he himself has grown up with, the Brazilian cavaquinho, traditionally used in Samba.

Children entirely engulfed in the enchanted new world of Hummingbird
Under very simple conditions and a low-cost structure we were able to let the children “travel” to their own colourful dreamland. It wasn’t long before the children were entirely engulfed in the enchanted new world of Hummingbird, an unknown experience for many of them.

7-year old José Roberto plays the Cavaquinho
7-year old José Roberto exchanges his shovel for a cavaquinho and discovers the joys of music.

The children of Sitio Joaninha
The children of Sitio Joaninha welcome Hummingbird to their community. Their expectations were as expected and many kids had already turned up early in the morning to wait for the Hummingbird Bus to arrive.

Solo performance of a young rapper
The fuel of our programme is the satisfaction seen on the faces of the children receiving our attention, like the boy above, who's self-esteem certainly rose during his solo performance as a young rapper.

Hummingbird Spreads Its Wings - XXVII
Here are some of our youth multipliers and scholarship holders who make up the AfroBreak dance group at Hummingbird. They are a pretty energetic group of youngsters who are more than dedicated to what they practice, which is mainly Break dancing, and love teaching others too.

Hummingbird Spreads Its Wings - II
Here, one of our youth mentors, Davi (left) from the Banda Beija-Flor, discusses their new proposal with inhabitants of the area, who have gathered to clear an open piece of land to facilitate our activites there.

Many of the children who live here have a long way to walk to reach school, as there is no public transport. The tendency is therefore not to go, especially during the rainy or colder seasons. Very few have the willpower or even the means of getting to Hummingbird to participate in all the good things we have to offer in our Street Migration Prevention Programme, although there are some who do.

This is the main reason for us to bring Hummingbird to the kids. If we can manage to finance a more permanent solution we will be able to continue with a variety of activities throughout the entire year and not just during the school holiday season as is this experience.


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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.