In August Board Director João Martinez da Cruz was able to visit one of the Christian organisations Happy Child International partners with in Recife. The opportunity gave further insight into the breadth of work we are supporting.
Ammar Transforma operates in the Joanna Bezerra Community which has 13,000 residents. Homes and people are tightly packed together with little space for leisure. Unemployment and illiteracy levels are high, domestic abuse and violence are a common occurrence. João says that “Ammar Transforma is like a beacon of light, bringing hope and transformation to people. Against the odds the project co-ordinators Denise and Carla, as well as the Ammar Transforma team, show tremendous commitment to their work and the wellbeing of the local community. It is clear that they are highly motivated by their Christian faith and the opportunities they have to make a difference in people’s lives”.
João was also thrilled to meet a group of older ladies who were having a literacy class at the project when he was there. He adds, “Their questions and beaming smiles made it clear they really value the lessons and look forward to when they can read and write confidently, help their grandchildren with their homework and take part in the life of their community more fully. The teacher was highly skilled, sympathetic and participatory in her approach. The classes are held on a Thursday and Saturday mornings for one hour each time”. As the classes are free, this plays a vital role in reducing the high levels of illiteracy. Illiteracy among family members is often the reason a child will not be able to read and write. By breaking the cycle of illiteracy, the project helps local families to have better access to health care, benefit from work opportunities, as well as improve their self-esteem and ability to organise their lives and that of their children and grandchildren.
The project is also helping children and young people through educational clubs. These clubs complement the local school timetable. In May, teacher Vanessa, who lives in the community, was contracted to deliver extra help to those who need it. The Ammar Transforma team are currently working with over 50 families in Joanna Bezerra.
The project is also trying to work more closely with other churches in the neighbourhood. This is not always easy - the team often needs to build trust and help the churches to understand how they can make a difference in people's lives beyond meeting their spiritual needs. They desperately need more physical where activities can take place more easily and comfortably – working in partnership with more local churches would really help. Our encouragement to the team is for them to persevere with relationship building, as these new connections are likely to bear much fruit in the future.
If you would like to find out more about the work of our partner Ammar Transforma, please get in touch with us.
Written by: João Martinez da Cruz, Director of the Happy Child International Council in Recife.