Lençóis in Brazil

Supported by the Rotary Club of Hexham Natercia Correia, a fourth year language student from Hexham, studying at Newcastle University, has completed a three month project volunteering at the Casa Grande Association in Brazil (The Casa Grande Associacao). Natercia’s family are Portuguese and as she speaks the language this was a great asset during her time there.

The Association is located in the state of Bahia, in the north east of Brazil, at a town called Lençóis, a seven hour bus journey from the nearest town of Salvador.

NaterciaLençóis is a very poor town where many of the children either have no parents or have parents who were very young. The association’s objective is to provide a learning space where these young children can feel welcome, safe away from the streets.

Because many of the children served by the Association come from broken backgrounds or broken homes this has meant that they have behavioural issues. Drugs and alcohol are a major factor in Brazilian society and the children are constantly exposed to this. With the lack of contraception and sex education, many young girls become pregnant adding to existing hardships.

Volunteers are told to expect problems and to not take anything the children say to heart. During Natercia’s period of volunteering there were many fights between families and the children often reacted to situations through aggression rather than talking.

As a result of the financial assistance provided by the Rotary Club of Hexham Natercia was delighted, not only that the Association were able to clear a plot of land in readiness for the construction of a children’s playground but also afford to pay the school co-ordinator for a further month.

Now back in the United Kingdom Natercia says that she had an amazing time teaching the children and exploring the beautiful national park of Brazil. She also realises how much we take for granted in our everyday lives saying that “something simple like a hot shower can really make your day!”