Saturday, March 03, 2007

Teach them how to fish!

Take the plunge...!
Originally uploaded by carf.

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

...continuing along the lines of this well-known Chinese proverb, we at CARF try as best we can to teach our kids how to fish. It is probably the only way they will never need to go hungry.
Most of Brazil's social problems stem from poverty, inequality and ignorance and it's hard to know where to begin to resolve them. Teaching our children simple skills and responsibilities and rewarding them for learning or helping is the first step to building self-esteem.

After a season of summer and Carnival holidays in Brazil, I am happy to get back to normal working days with all my staff present and in action at our Hummingbird Arts & Cultural Activity Centre, where they uphold the spirit of our Street Migration Prevention Programme and where building self-esteem is the essence of our efforts through artistic and cultural expression.

After such a recession in our programme, what better news to hear than that brought to me by Célio, one of our youth scholarship holders in training, who helps teach Hummingbird’s children music and guitar. Célio has been supported with one of our so-called Youth Capacity Building Scholarships, which are regular grant contributions made by individual sponsors of the programme throughout the entire year. Our aim with this kind of capacity building project is to create a team of new capacities within our programme; youth agents of social change within their own communities, prepared to take on the forthcoming expansion of the Hummingbird Project.

Hummingbird Spreads Its Wings - XXII
Célio above is one such agent and a good one at that.

With an almost "broken heart" and very reserved feelings about his decision, Célio waited for hours today, just to exchange a few personal words with me and express his feelings. He told me of the difficult decision he had made to leave his position as a scholarship holder at Hummingbird due to other responsibilities he was now taking on. Knowing that he comes from a particularly difficult family situation with many smaller brothers and sisters, I asked Célio why he had chosen to leave so suddenly. He then explained how during the holidays he had entered a major song contest arranged by a professional recording company here in São Paulo, competing against 36 other groups. Célio had managed to win first place, whereupon he had just signed a 3-year registered recording contract, which would pay him a guaranteed minimum monthly wage of approx. USD$800,00.

Now for an 18-year old kid from utmost poverty in Brazil, who comes from a family trying very hard to survive on the occasional odd jobs for his parents and a fraction of that amount to live on each month, Célio was of course overwhelmed by this opportunity. He had won the contest with the music he had recorded here at Hummingbird's own little studio but was reserved about his decision because he felt he was abandoning the organization that had lifted him from almost nothing and given him the capacity to realize his dreams. He really didn't want to leave all that behind because he loved what he was doing here.

On the Road - VII
Teach them how to fish!

Of course I was saddened to know that we will be "losing" not only one of our youth capacities, but also a great kid who means a lot for other kids here at Hummingbird, but at the same time I shared this optimistic fisherman's hopes for a bigger catch. I told Célio how happy I was to hear his wonderful news and to know that we had eventually managed to teach him how to fish.

Hopefully, he will not forget where he learnt how to.....


At 1:46 pm, Blogger Rhonda said...

I know our causes are different - but they are also similar. I encourage you to check out my blogs

At 1:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was wondering who can i contact to get involved with this organization. I am Brazilian and would like to get involved, I have been dieing to give back to the Brazilian community. I recently went to Mexico and worked with abandoned children and am currently planning a trip back.
If I could get contact information from the founder of the organization or anyone else who has information i would really appreciate it
my email is
thank you very much
liane rosa

At 6:10 pm, Blogger Stan said...


I have seldom seen such an energized, practical and positive contribution to child welfare and protection. It is quite a moving experience.

Thank you for the work you do and I shall do my best to spread the word.


At 6:52 pm, Blogger Alejandro Figueroa - Piastorem said...

Excelent article. I´ll link it into my blog.

greetings from Argentina.

At 11:47 am, Anonymous Fred Ferreira said...

Estava procurando fotos relacionadas à cidadania no site (site de fotos de livre uso) e fui redirecionado ao Flick da fundação. Não compreendi bem se as fotos podem ser usadas ou não, pois estão no Flickr. É preciso alguma autorização especial,por escrito, do autor das fotos ? Pretendo usá-las no site da Procuradoria da República no Estado de SP, na página de cidadania (
Como devo proceder ?
Fred Ferreira

At 10:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a University student in Manchester, England and am currently trying to research for my dissertation and would love to come and see the projects here and how they are helping people and communities through the use of culture and art. I've tried e-mailing the contact e-mail for some of the CARF sites such as Capoeira and Gritos Urbanos but they dont work. I was wondering if anyone knew the correct e-mail or contact and would really appreciate if they could give it to me. My e-mail is:

At 5:27 am, Anonymous Childrens Home said...

Very good blog. Good & Informative.


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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.