Hummingbird Spreads Its Wings - XXI
Our youth mentors and entrepreneurs are themselves responsible for the development and implementation of the Hummingbird Programme. They find their drive and willpower from knowing that they can help change the tragic social reality in Brazil through their own concrete actions. Their fuel is the smiles on the faces of the children receiving their attention, like the young girl above.
How could they possibly resist such a charming invitation?
Today was the beginning of a new development in the Hummingbird Project called Beija-Flor na Comunidade (Hummingbird in the Community), which literally means we are taking Hummingbird to the community instead of the community coming to us. In other words, Hummingbird is spreading its wings!
These images are from today's activities, which finished only a few hours ago. Tomorrow we will be in a different locality, in a different community.
The programme is part of a new strategy being developed by our youth mentors to get a preliminary feel in connection with their objectives to implant small Hummingbird nuclei in the more distant parts of our community, thus bringing our activities to the poorest kids who have no means of reaching our main centre.
The first community to receive some of Hummingbird’s vibrant activities was the Sitio Joaninha, which is a rough hilly area about 6 kilometres away from us, where many of the families who used to work on the rubbish tip live. The tip was closed down a few years ago and the area covered with topsoil so as to recuperate some of the natural vegetation.
Most of the shanty homes were constructed during the active years of the tip, when entire families found their livelihoods under the most unhealthy and hazardous working conditions. Since its closure there has been very few alternatives in the way of work and habitation, so very few have been able to move to better conditions. To the contrary; the area has rapidly grown to accommodate even more poverty-stricken families who have no other alternative than to grab a small plot of land and try to survive on what little is available in terms of public amenities in such places.
The majority of homes have no running water and depend on the council delivering drinking water by truck each day. Electricity is acquired through a series of illegal connections, which people have hooked-up to the main electricity network through a maze of literally thousands of metres of wiring crossing the landscape in all directions in order to bring power to one’s home.
This is quite common during the rapid growth of favela (shanty) areas and pressures from the inhabitants will eventually cause most councils to come up with a more satisfactory and less risky solution.
Many of the children who live here have a long way to walk to reach school, as there is no public transport. The tendency is therefore not to go, especially during the rainy or colder seasons. Very few have the willpower or even the means of getting to Hummingbird to participate in all the good things we have to offer in our Street Migration Prevention Programme, although there are some who do.
This is the main reason for us to bring Hummingbird to the kids. If we can manage to finance a more permanent solution we will be able to continue with a variety of activities throughout the entire year and not just during the school holiday season as is this week's proposal.