Updated: May 20
Projeto Tamandaré is a vibrant project on the south coast of Pernambuco State, Brazil. Its goal is to reach, educate and support children and young people from socially vulnerable communities in the region. Today it is working with 500 children and young people as well as 300 families on a low income wage.
Earlier this year Happy Child International’s Chairman of the Board, John Doddrell, and his wife Dilsa Doddrell enjoyed visiting the work and getting to know more about the project.
Dilsa says of her experience.
“Being Brazilian, coming myself from that region, one of the poorest in the country, I know first-hand the challenges and struggles faced by those children and their families to have access to the very basics needed to live a humane life. My visit to the crèche was a poignant and deeply moving moment. I felt emotional and close to tears, but also had a smile on my face as I saw those bright little faces looking so happy, healthy and well fed; some were noisily playing, some were doing educational activities guided by a motivated, caring teacher. As we approached the classrooms, they came rushing towards us to give us a warm hug with those little hands in a truly Brazilian fashion. My heart was warmed and filled with hope that this generation can have a brighter future and could make a difference in the lives of their parents and the communities where they live!”
In the project’s crèche, the 2 to 5 year olds enjoy themselves in a safe and comfortable environment. They learn to play and interact with other children through art and craft, sport and organised environmental activities. The 6 to 15 year olds attend after-school clubs to support them with their school work. The project also offers them the opportunity to learn cooking, bakery, IT skills and encourages them to work with the environment. As the project is in a tourist area, it is so well placed to provide these young people with skills which will eventually assist them to find work. Such opportunities can really help improve the lives of the families by improving their socio economic situation.
This is the story of Cintia who attended Projeto Tamandaré
Cintia joined the Projeto Tamandaré in 1998 aged 3 years old. While she was there she got help with her reading and writing, learned how to look after herself, eat healthily and was able to join in all the sports activities.
Cintia lived with her parents and two brothers. Both her brothers attended the project. Most of their family income was consumed by meeting the basic family needs with little left over. While the children were at the project the family received educational and social support to help them out.
From a young age Cintia enjoyed reading. She was a hard working student and the project gave her the leg up she needed. Later she continued her studies at the Pernambuco Federal Institute.
Today Cintia is a shining example of the difference and transformation that a project like Projeto Tamandaré can make in the lives of a child or young person. In 2015, at 20 years old, Cintia returned to work at the project as an educator herself.
Now she is able to pass on all the love that she herself received while she was there. She says
“Education transforms lives. I can look the children and young people I work with in the eye and say that if I have got this far then so can you. You have the world in front of you and should believe that nothing is impossible”
This is an encouraging story of hope and shows what a project like Projeto Tamandaré can achieve. Happy Child International is delighted to be supporting the project, with the generous help of our donors for which we are most grateful.
Written by: Dilsa Doddrell