Community Transformation one Child at a Time… or How to Reverse Desertification by Planting Trees

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, on Tuesday April 9, we had the privilege to join an extraordinary session with the counselors of the Participatory Budget.  Here is a picture from last week.

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Among others was this energetic lady.  Her name is Maria Deloi Silveira Cardoso.  Here she appears in the middle of the picture (I zoomed in for your convenience):

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Mrs. Deloi is Counselor of the Heath and Social Assistance “theme” in the Participatory Budget, and she immediately invited us to visit the Centro Social Marista where she volunteers.  She is 72-years old, but with the energy of a teenager.  And she cares about the center.  Some of us had the opportunity to visit the center this week (unfortunately, I was not among them), and they came back with amazing stories.  The center hosts over one thousand kids.  They spend time there either in the afternoon if they go to school in the morning, or in the morning if they attend regular school in the afternoon.  Since gambling was banned in Brazil, these kids have repurposed gambling machines and refurbished computers, and have been able to to build some amazing things.  Here you can see Julie with one of the kids, and a few of the “refurbished/repurposed” gambling machines in the background.

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The kids here have won “Robotics” competitions, and developed some impressive projects.

And it is the likes of Mrs. Deloi that have helped make this change.  Whenever she needs something, she will physically “camp” outside the office of a Municipality Secretary until he/she agrees to see her.  Seventy two-years old, and still going, and going, and making a change, one kid at a time…  A few more pictures of the visit:

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The team was interviewed at their center radion station by one of the students…  You can access the radio here.

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