On 20 November we celebrate the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day. Jacira Barros, Volunteer Group Consul in São Paulo, shares her experiences of organizing creative activities for children with a local non-profit organization.
What does the Universal Children’s Day mean to you in relation to your role as Volunteer Group Consul?
This is a month for uniting all our commitment to contributing to a better world, and it begins with children. If we can give them a seed, in the future they may have a tree.
What is the non-profit organization that you are supporting, and what do they do to benefit children?
I support the NPO Vivenda da Criança. In Brazil, schools are part time, so parents go to work and leave their children at the Vivenda da Criança. Here they have access to art classes, playrooms, psychologists, educational counseling, and drug prevention lectures. For teenagers in need, they also offer vocational courses, such as hairdressing, baking, and IT.
The charity institution Vivenda da Criança is a non-profit organization that helps more than 4,000 people in Parelheiros, São Paulo, every month. In 1989, they started their activities as a shelter for at-risk youth. Over time, the institution has been growing, and today it offers various opportunities for children, adolescents, and adults to develop as people, citizens, and future professionals.
Which activity has been the highlight of your work with Vivenda da Criança?
The activity “Your Culture, My Culture” was the one I loved best, but I really liked the “Creative Factory” activity, too. These two activities were the most demanding with regard to time, organization, and financial investment, but they were also the most enjoyable. The InterNations members, as well as the children, had a great time — I could clearly see it in their faces.
“Your Culture, My Culture” was a creative activity organized by Jacira and supported by 23 amazing volunteers. They created a fictitious passport for each child, which they could use to visit eight booths, each representing a different country. In the booth, the kids had the chance to learn more about the culture of the respective country, and at the end they participated in a fun quiz about what they had just learned.
What was the impact of this activity on the kids and the InterNations volunteers?
These activities were a great educational exercise for the kids. We planted a seed in the hearts and minds of these children when we taught them how to say “hello” in Chinese or when the Spanish booth taught them about famous painters.
The children, who live in a poor, underprivileged neighborhood of São Paulo, were able to experience that the world is much larger than that. Our members worked really hard, donated their time and love, and felt genuine gratitude for participating and working together with these children.
Jacira continues to organize activities together with her Co-Consuls and with the help of many volunteers in São Paulo. Visit the São Paulo Volunteer Group page to get in touch with Jacira or to join one of the activities.
If you’d like to get involved in another city, please check if there is a Volunteer Group in your community. Every InterNations member can join the group and take part in the activities!
(Image credit: Jacira Barros/InterNations)