CHILDREN’S DAY – A Hope for the Future
Our well-trained “Hummingbirds” spread their wings as potential youth community leaders, to share love, hope and knowledge, creating new possibilities for the children of the Favela Morro de Macaco in São Paulo. - Photo by Tatiana Cardeal
Children’s Day marks the start of a new phase in the Hummingbird Project.
12th. October is Brazilian Children’s Day, also known as the day of the Brazilian Patron Saint of the Family called Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida; Mother of God, Queen of the Angels, Advocate of the Fishermen, Refuge and Consolation of the Afflicted and Protector of the Family against illness, hunger, assault and any other perils that might affect us. In other words quite a mouthful and just about everything we try to attain with our work for at-risk children and youth in Brazil.
12th. October also marked the beginning of a new partnership in the Hummingbird Project, namely the start-up of our new community base at the Lar Maria & Sininha Orphanage, right in the middle of the Favela called Morro de Macaco (Monkey's Mound – called so because not so long ago, before the hills were suddenly taken over by an organized invasion of impoverished families, it was covered with what little is left of the once thriving Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rain Forest), which was cut down and cleared within a weekend to make way for thousands of shacks. Along with this incredible action disappeared a wealth of natural resources and wildlife, including the many monkeys that inhabited the area).
This kind of uncontrolled development not only irreversibly destroys nature but also puts a great deal of pressure on all public amenities and subsequently causes many of these families to live in a situation of high risk, with even more children growing up in this country who lack some of the basic necessities of life.
Instead of organized public planning and policy, this is yet another great example of how shortsighted our politicians are in running this wealthy country and creating the necessary means of sustainable development for all its inhabitants! Once again NGO’s like ours have to step in to try and reverse a very negative situation, whilst we wait for more intelligent and ethical people to lead this country away from disaster.
With the birth of our new community base in the Favela Morro de Macaco, these children will have access to activities, “adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development”, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development, and that parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary responsibility to secure, within their abilities and financial capacities, the conditions of living necessary for the child's development.
As most of the families in the Favela Morra de Macaco do not posses either the abilities or the financial capacities and the fact that we don’t expect too much from our government for a long time yet, we, the NGO’s, certainly have a heavy workload ahead of us. With 312.000 social development programmes in Brazil you wouldn’t think the problems would be so difficult to resolve, but unfortunately we are still far from reaching satisfactory solutions.
Morro de Macaco (Monkey's Mound) was only a few years ago covered with what little is left of the once thriving Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rain Forest). These hills were suddenly taken over by an organized invasion of impoverished families and all the trees were cut down and cleared within a weekend to make way for thousands of shacks.
The objectives for our new base in the Favela Morro de Macaco is to replicate some of the positive actions we have created at our Hummingbird Cultural Activity Centre, which although situated quite close to this Favela, has reached its maximum capacity considering the high number of at-risk children and youth in our region. The programmes to be implemented at the new base will be developed by our youth multipliers in cooperation with their community youth mentors, replicating the abilities they have acquired from their own participation in our Street Migration Prevention Programme. This is a result of the positive investment being made by a number of small private sponsors who each support one of our youth multipliers with a small grant, our so-called Youth Capacity Building Scholarship Programme.
Having grown up in the local community under difficult circumstances themselves, youth multipliers like Guaraciaba, Davi and Wagner above, have living knowledge of how to best care for the needs of other community children.
At Hummingbird there are 28 youngsters supported with capacity building scholarships or grants. Our aim for 2005 has been to double that number and hopefully we will succeed by showing such positive results for those already in the programme.
These grants are sponsored by individuals who realize they can make a difference in the life of one of our kids, which will again be multiplied and affect the lives of many other needy kids. That is a value for money investment.
If you would like to know more about our Youth Capacity Building Scholarship Programme, just take a look at the article on this Blog where you can easily subscribe to one of the scholarships on an automated monthly payment system through PayPal. Simple and Sweet!
Without your help we would not be doing all that we are able to do today to change the outlooks of children like those we will be helping on the Morro de Macaco.