Happy Child International’s visit to the Ammar Transforma project – Joana Bezerra, Recife.
After one year of supporting the Ammar Transforma project it was exciting to finally see the work and meet the team.
On a very hot Saturday morning, with temperatures at 30 degrees, we set off towards our destination. This community is 2.5 kilometers from Recife’s downtown, in one of the poorest areas of the city.
It is the setting for hundreds of low income families mostly living on Brazil’s minimum monthly wage of £133.00 a month. Life is a struggle for these families and their children.
The project rents a house amidst the humble dwellings of the Joana Bezerra community. This serves as a small community centre where there are 3 rooms just large enough to take small groups of six or seven. There is no air conditioning so the fans whirr and it feels hot inside! In one of the rooms there are a number of computer terminals and in another a television monitor to facilitate learning.
On the other side of the street, opposite the community centre were two narrow rooms with no outside walls. They were full of children with smiling faces. It was wonderful to experience the fun they were having. We went in and chatted with them as they did their activities. They loved the hustle and bustle of a few visitors turning up. We loved the encounter.
The project is run by a group of volunteers. Their level of commitment and dedication is tangible. They warmly welcomed us and as always in Brazil there was plenty of cake on offer.
The work of Ammar Transforma is an oasis for the children, young people, and families living nearby. Over this last year it has provided food baskets and hygiene kits to the seventy families registered with the project. It gives the children and young people a safe place, friendship, care and the opportunity to engage in different learning activities.
On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s the educational clubs are very popular. 24 children from the ages of 5 to 13 attend in the morning and go to school in the afternoon. In the afternoon the programme is repeated for those at school in the morning.
Children are the principle victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. For many of these children it will take more than a decade to reverse the effects of the pandemic. The situation in Brazil is no different. This is why it is so good that small projects like Ammar Transforma are doing what they can, where they can, and in the best way they can to help children and young people from low income communities.
Encouragingly Ammar Transforma also offers supplementary health care and workshops for the Mum’s in the community to learn income generating skills. These kind of initiatives bring hope and encouragement to the families.
My experience of visiting the work is that everything is being done with great love, great commitment and great passion. I left feeling inspired and encouraged by what I saw.
Written by: Caroline Taylor, Head of Operations at Happy Child