Thursday, 17 February 2011

Arca de Noe, Vila Prudente

As a part of the board of the Canadian International Women's Society we are looking into other projects that we can contribute to and through a friend of a friend of a friend (as everything here in SP is) we were invited to attend a fundraising meeting a school called Arca de Noe, was holding.

It is a school in one of Sao Paulo's oldest favela's, Vila Prudente which is at the east end of the green line on the metro. My little human alarm clock didn't wake up until 8am and we were supposed to meeting at Terminal Vila Prudente so in very un-Brazilian style I texted everyone to apologise for being 5 minutes late, before I had even left the house and made it on time. Carrie Doyle, a teacher volunteer, lead us on about a 15 minute walk down some pretty unattractive streets until we reached the entrance of the favela. There were a couple of guys hanging out and checking out the girls we were with (some beautiful european students who were volunteering too) but apparently if we were just a bunch of guys it wouldn't be so easy just to stroll in. 

From what I understand Arca de Noe is a school that has been running for about 10 years which has been supported by the French community of Sao Paulo. It has been a haven for children aged 2-6 where parents both had to go to work and have had no direct family support. In the past few months the government has changed the law and they can no longer operate as they have been so are in the process of re-inventing themselves as a youth centre for 6 - 12 year olds, providing after/before school activities and generally just keeping the kids off the streets while they parents are at work.  The school will start up again at the beginning of April. They are currently looking for more volunteers to help out with some of their planned activities as well as funding for a new site that they hope to build on. They currently will be able to take up to 90 students per session (morning and afternoon) but could take up to 120 students per session with more space and teachers!

I'm really excited to see the school once it starts up again and hopefully will be able to volunteer too. Hopefully through the CIWS we will also be able to offer our members volunteer opportunities and collections for their library. A big plus is that it is accessible via the metro and they currently do activity sessions on Wednesday mornings and will also select one afternoon.

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