CENTRO DE PROMOÇÁO E ASSISTÉNCE SOCIAL (cephas – project)

Posted: June 22, 2011 in Brazil

http://www.cepas.org.br/wordpress

First day on first project was amazing, everything I had expected except slightly more chaotic perhaps.

The project offers hot meals, showers, games, friendship, basic bible study, television and pastoral support for 200 children aged from 5-18. It is staffed by passionate volunteers, who don’t receive an income for the 40 odd hours a week they commit to, instead receiving a meager living allowance that covers their travel and living costs.

The children are all really lovely, however by and large they are either orphaned, living with extended family, living with alcoholic/drug addicted parents and/or suffering border line neglect/abuse. They are starved of positive attention, support, affection or love and the staff there make it a priority to hand out plenty of cuddles, smiles, high 5’s and quiet time with them.

They are not hindered by English cumbersome paperwork, obtrusive/over bearing child protection legislation or a legal non-contact work ethic, in fact would say the polar opposite! Staff are free to love, laugh, cuddle, teach and support children who seem to enjoy their time away from desperate home lives and experience a few hours of peace, calm and happiness.

As the project runs alongside regular school, they do not offer a full curriculum, instead offering classes in English, the Bible, art/craft, life skills, responsibilities, ethics and manners. I sat in on the English lessons and when the teacher introduced me to the class there were fits of giggles. Apparently my name ‘Benjamin’ means blessed in Hebrew but sounds like ‘kiss me’ in Portuguese. I was extremely amusing when the smaller children spoke to and the teacher said that I didn’t speak Portuguese, they looked at me bemused and starting talking again in Portuguese. The teacher explained that they could not understand the concept that I was unable to speak their language as I was an adult. After he explained this twice one little girl said to me in her best voice, ‘you is from England’ to which I nodded and smiled!

Most the day was spent me telling them what different things were in English, e.g. pencils, rulers, chairs, books, football, etc.

I realised within hours that working for a project like CEPHAS  is something I could happily do full time if I didn’t need to consider mundane things like work, money, flat, visa requirements, not being able to speak he language, etc.  It is a calling I have had and prayed about for several years and am now more certain than I have ever been before. All I need to do now if try and work out in what way I can get involved and assist in this field of voluntary work.

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Comments
  1. Kat says:

    Joy and heart warming to see n hear about the kids, exciting to find your calling. Asking self same question..

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