Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rocinha Art & School Supplies Project – wrap up report

Tio Lino and Zezinho

Thanks to 21 donors from three continents we were able to raise an impressive R$800 to buy art and school supplies for some of the children living in Rocinha and for Tio Lino’s after school drop-in arts program.

You will recall that Luiz and I partnered with Zezinho and Tio Lino to develop a simple, yet direct-assistance idea to provide needed supplies to both children and Tio.  Then we asked our blog readers and friends to consider making a donation.  Several other expat bloggers cross posted our request on their blogs and included a link to PayPal where supporters could make a donation.  Many shared the idea with their Facebook communities.

Looking for the right picture to color.

Here’s how it all turned out: 

For the children we were able to buy 40 simple string backpacks - good ones with a zippered outer pocket – in several colors.  Then we equipped each backpack with a spiral notebook, three pencils, a pen, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, three balloons, and a six-color box of finger paints.  These school supplies cost R$550.  (Things are not cheap in Brazil, even when buying from a discount store!)

The cramped room is lit with a single bulb.

For Tio’s art program we bought as many of the supplies he requested that we could: three dozen paint brushes in three different sizes, 5 bottles of liquid paper glue, 24 glue sticks, an exact-o craft knife, a sturdy cello tape dispenser, five rolls of cello tape, 2 boxes of 48 colored pencils, 2 adult pair of scissors, five children’s scissors and a large format calculator.  These art supplies cost R$250.  Plus Tio was given all of the random extra items of school supplies after we separated out 40 each for the backpacks (buying in bulk sometimes meant having to buy 48 of something or 50 of something).

Yesturday, during the warm early evening, we carried 4 large bags of supplies and backpacks through the narrow streets/footpaths of Rocinha from Zezinho’s house to Tio’s temporary art studio (his other place is being repaired/rebuilt).

When we arrived we were met by about 10 children who were coloring pictures and generally hanging out with Tio and a few adult women volunteers.  The cramped space was cluttered with both small tables and chairs, and the tiny artists that occupied them.

Some of the art supplies.

The air was warm and damp in the one-room studio lit by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.  Next time we make a donation I think I’m going to include a fan!  (But no one but me seemed to notice.)

Tio is a big Obama supporter.

We presented Tio with his art supplies while the children, wide eyed, circled around.  “These are for all of us to use,” Tio told them.

The boys staking our their area.

Then Tio and Zezinho started pulling backpacks out of the bags and handing them to the unsuspecting kids.  It took a little convincing for some to understand that they were a gift and they could take them home. 

This little girl just kept holding her backpack.

It was a surprise to me that few of the children were familiar with finger paints. We had to explain the concept and remind them not to paint on the walls at home.

Unpacking and checking out the goods.

To his credit Tio Lino pulled two boys aside and broke the news that they were not going to get backpacks because he understood they had stopped going to school.  He sent them out of the studio with the encouragement to return to their studies.  It was always Tio Lino’s intention to reward the children he knows are staying out of trouble and are focused on their schooling.

So on this first night Tio was able to distribute about 8 backpacks.  The rest were stored safely away.  He’s sure the word will get out and there will be a bumper crop of kids coming to the studio tomorrow to see if they are lucky enough to get a new backpack full of school supplies.

Getting a little help understanding how to put it on.
Everybody say "Thank you!"

While we were apologetic that we were able to supply backpacks for just 40 children, Tio grinned, hugged us and assured us that the blessings of all things good would come to everyone who helped and that he was immensely grateful and a bit overwhelmed.

Happy crowd, and a sweaty Jim!

After taking a few more photos we were ready to vacate the space so the children could go back to their activities.  Before leaving we were approached by several little ones who offered us an appreciation gift.  We were each given a beautiful wall plaque made by a student in the signature Tio Lino style of recycled material creating an urban landscape.  It was a touching moment.

It reads: "Office of Tio Lino, Rocinha the world of art! Made by Viviene"

So there you have it.  When we all work together we can make an impact, if only on a modest scale.  Modest perhaps, but the impact is quite real to each child and to Tio Lino’s efforts.  Thanks again, everyone, for participating.  I’m sure we will do this type of thing again sometime.


Nina said...

Awesome!!!! I am going to post it up on my facebook, in case someone donated!

Fiona said...

Nice report, beautiful pictures. :)

Rachel said...

Awesome job Jim!!

GingerV said...

this made me think of all the projects american kids bring home from school - plaster hands, artwork made from clay - their first watercolor. Our kids are always so proud of what they have made and the parents treasure these simple things. Great idea. great exicution...

Chris said...

Very cool! Too bad I came onto "the scene" too late to make any kind of donation. If it comes back around, let me know!

p.s. Damn Jim, you're drenched! LOL!