Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dinheiro na Mão é Muito Legal...

“Money in hand is great fun” was the name of the first motivational workshop arranged by IDORT – SP, not only for the ASAS youth group, but also for other youth scholarship holders at Hummingbird.

IDORT consultant, Samuel Marques, leads our young people to a better understanding of the value of R$1.00 in their hand.

IDORT is an institution specialized in training and capacitating people from all different levels of society, contributing towards the development and qualification of public and private administration in Brazil these last 75 years. They will be doing a series of small capacity building workshops for our youth during the course of the year, the next being “Leadership and Teamwork”.

Isabelli, Jessica and Roberta have one thing in common; a strong desire to learn more each day. Through the ASAS project they will have plenty of opportunities.

Youth in our ASAS group receive a small, monthly scholarship grant to guarantee their possibility to participate 20 hours weekly in the programme. As we don’t want them to simply waste these funds in an uncontrolled manner, the objectives with this workshop were to offer them the necessary tools to plan and control their personal economy by stimulating and establishing aims, analyzing income and expenses, and to cultivate long-term thinking towards the formation of patrimony and savings. But this learning will not only give them important knowledge on personal economy, it will also be helpful if put into use when planning social projects as future youth leaders in our prevention programme.

Content matter included personal cash flow, financial check-up for the family, credit, dept and Bank relationships, and the elaboration of a personal economy project for self use and to multiply with others.

The workshop was a four hour affair, with multi-media presentations and group dynamics, where our suitably equipped theatre was ideal for the occasion.

Jefferson and Wallison, busy with better planning on how they should use their scholarship grant each month. Hopefully they will have learnt something about the value of hard-earned money and how to administer their personal finances, and maybe even multiply this within their own families.

CARF’s Scholarship Program is unique and aims to preserve the positive development of a safe and healthy environment for at-risk youth, safeguarding the process of growing up to become responsible and productive citizens. For underprivileged community youth with only minimum basic public education and access to very few formal job opportunities, a scholarship signifies a whole new world of possibilities. Through the partnership programmes developed in cooperation with our positive peer group at the Hummingbird Arts & Cultural Activity Centre, we aim to mobilize young people as active agents, promoting positive transformations in their own life and that of their community.

Unfortunately not all children from at-risk communities have regular access to such healthy environments as the Hummingbird Centre, which not only offers self-awareness, self-love, and self-esteem, but also guarantees the child’s moral and emotional intelligence by building development assets in young people based on the categories of support, empowerment, boundaries, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity. These important factors in the process of growing up to become successful young adults and inverting the picture from clients to citizens are essential if we are to combat degeneration in such societies. This process not only needs time and patience, but also financial support to thrive.

Daniel is the youngest member of ASAS, but as he himself says: “I’m stubborn and persistent” so has no problem keeping up with older colleagues.

CARF’s Youth Capacity Building Scholarships contain the following elements:
(i) Recipients must attend an average of 20 hours per week in a CARF-sponsored development and training programme(s). Attendance and participation is monitored and recorded weekly.
(ii) Scholarship recipients must maintain the regular public school attendance of up to 20 hours per week.
(iii) The scholarships are used to help pay for their educational materials, traveling costs on public transportation and other personal necessities. In addition, they can also help pay for supplementary external activities or educational courses, which are crucial in enhancing future job and life opportunities.
(iv) The scholarships will also help pay for some family expenses such as part of the electric bill or basic foodstuffs, which is expected from teenagers in the family structure once they reach a “working” age.
(v) By helping to contribute to the family expenses, this also helps ease the pressure off the youth to go out and take on temporary, informal jobs, which often interfere with any further educational progression.
(vi) Scholarships allow youth to be involved in educational and vocational training programs at CARF’s Hummingbird Arts & Cultural Activity Center (ECBF – Espaço Cultural Beija-Flor), strengthening their individual life project as opposed to hustling to make money or becoming involved in the ever-present drug trafficking that is profuse in most underprivileged communities in Brazil.
(vii) The programme includes regular orientation and education regarding drugs, alcohol, sex, the environment, citizenship and money management.
(viii) Monitoring of the current family situation helps motivate parent/guardian involvement and safeguards against improper use of the scholarship, giving maximum priority to funding their selected program activities.

A round of applause for workshop participants as they each receive their personal certificate of participation from IDORT consultant, Samuel Marques.

In this way we aim to cultivate social inclusion: with youngsters who feel more confident in the future and capable of building their lives; improvement in the quality of family life; better school attendance, with an effective participation in the school's activities; young people looking to live off a legitimate income earned by doing an honest and dignifying job; real choices in terms of leisure activities in the area, through the activities promoted by the Hummingbird Cultural Network; Groups of strong, solid and motivated youngsters that provide a new positive example and spread their values throughout their community.

At the end of the workshop each one also received a small surprise envelope in hand from Samuel, containing a R$1.00 banknote to be invested and multiplied according to the knowledge gained during the workshop. Here Edi, one of Hummingbirds talented percussionists, receives his with a smile.

If you would like to know more about how you can sponsor a scholarship please read the article on our other Blog.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Healthy minds, bodies and souls...

Regular weekly activities in our Youth Capacity Building Programme include exercises to keep the minds, bodies and souls of our ASAS youth group functioning at peak level.

Remember, the majority spend more than 20 hours each week in our training programme here at Hummingbird, besides their normal 20-hour school week and their usual participation in artistic, cultural or sporting activities here. To say the least, a busy week for most of them and one that requires their full attention most of the time.

With such busy weeks, I’m sure it’s really tempting to just fall asleep during a quiet moment of meditation for Jefferson (below) and the rest of our youth group.

Luckily, keeping fit is more or less a “life philosophy” for many of the young people who frequent our Street Migration Prevention Programme at Hummingbird, where their participation in sporting and cultural activities such as football, Capoeira, break- and street dancing keep most of them on their toes and where stretching out tired muscles before each training session demands a rather well-prepared body.

16-year old Willian has been a Capoeirist at Hummingbird since he was 11 years old so he should have no problem raising those legs to new heights.

17-year old Felipe has been practising Break dance at Hummingbird since he was 12 years old and has always kept a well-synchronized mind and body to tackle all those demanding dance steps.

Keeping a high energy level is something of a necessity when tackling the lives of more than 600 at-risk kids who today form part of The Hummingbird Project.

Brazilian public schools in the urban periphery of São Paulo are not exactly reknowned for their discipline and concentrated learning methodologies and as many of our children already come from rather undisciplined homes, their uncontrollable energy overflow can sometimes be enough for any Doctor to prescribe Ritalin in large doses. We of course prefer other methods of keeping our kids under control and these exercises are very much a part of our chest of natural “antidotes” to help us guide that energy in the right direction.

Calm and well-balanced youth leaders help to sustain a more positive and productive atmosphere at Hummingbird.