Jardim Kennedy, Mauá SP

(Scroll down for pictures)

Dear Books for Brazil Friends,

I would like to share my experience of delivering books and making story time for the second time at a favela (slum) in Mauá, São Paulo.

First of all I would like to thank all the donors and volunteers for making this book delivery possible. There were a total of 87 books.

I really believe we reached out to children in need. We went door to door on a Sunday, and surprisingly, we found many kids by themselves, in some cases, taking care of their younger sibling.

Prior to the delivery, I learned that we needed to ask for “permission” to go inside this favela. This shows us that it was very important to get people from the local community involved in this event. They knew what was going on there and whether was safe for outside people to go in. Because we explained that we were only going to read books and give them to the kids at no cost, they allowed us in. We did not advertise the event within the community because of a limited amount of books.

The volunteers Alexandra, Nancy, John, Denise, Wilson, Gislene, Gabriela and I drove to the location together, found a good spot and started to unpack. As you can see in the photos below, the street had no pavement or sidewalk so we used a blue tarp for the reading area. Wilson and John tied a banner that announced story time and book donation. We blew up some balloons, displayed the books on the floor, got the donation forms and we were ready to start.

Alexsandra sat down with a few books to read. At first there were only six kids, but slowly more children started coming from everywhere and it was a beautiful sight. They were all curious and wanting the books so badly, they could hardly wait. So after a few stories and one dance we started the book distribution.

We asked the kids to invite their parents or a responsible adult in charge so that we could collect some information before handing out the books. The answer from the kids was: the parents were not home and there was no one to sign the forms for them. Prior to the event, we gave instruction to the community that the parents needed to provide us with basic information in order for a kid to get a free book.

The volunteers looked at each other: “What should we do?” The children were there and we could not deny them the books. In the end we decided to get some basic information from the kids themselves.

What joy! The kids were so happy. Everyone had a chance to choose a book and
they didn’t care if it was new or used. They were just fascinated by them. You could see some kids holding the book very tightly as if it was a very precious possession.
There was a 6- or 8-year old kid holding a 6-month baby, who asked me if his sister could also have a book. Another kid who was hugging his friend came up to me
and said: “This is my friend can he get a book too?”

The kids were happy getting balloons, and were puzzled by John’s funny accent. I heard one of the kids say: “you are not from here, where do you live?”

Although we only distributed one book per child, I am sure they are going to talk about it with their friends. Maybe they will exchange some titles or maybe they will tell their stories in a group, but the most important thing is I think we planted a seed.

I have to say that after living in the US for almost 10 years, it is very easy for me to forget how many people in Brazil live in poverty. After all this time I was hoping things would get better for them, but their situation was still the same.

Once again I felt blessed for the opportunities in my life. As I mentioned in my first delivery, many people helped me throughout my life and each help made a difference for me. Books for Brazil is one way for me to give back a tiny bit of what I have received so far.

What I realized is some things that means so little to us might mean a lot to others.

Thank you all so much!
Joelma Nascimento, Founder and Volunteer

Story time with Alexsandra Silva
Residents coming to the book delivery.
The story begins and little by little the group starts to grow.
We found many kids by themselves and in same cases taking care of their younger sibling.
(Joelma) ... it is very easy to forget how people live there in poverty. After all this time I was hoping that things were better for them, but they still the same.
It was only one book per child. But I am sure they are going to talk about it with friends. Maybe they will exchange some titles or maybe they will tell their stories in their group. I think we planted a seed.
You could see some kids holding the book very tight like it was a very precious possession.
Volunteer Alexsandra Silva giving one-on-one attention.
The children were there, they wanted the books. We could not deny them the books...
Children receiving books.
Volunteer Alexsandra Silva documenting all the books donated.
Volunteer Wilson Nascimento documenting all the books donated.
Volunteer Nanci Itokazu getting basic information from the children.
Everyone had a chance to choose a book. They didn’t care if the book was new or used. They were fascinated by them.
A happy child
Volunteer Gislene fills out the survey to learn more about the children receiving books.
Volunteer Denise Cordeiro making sure things were under control.
Thanks to all the donors and volunteers for making this book delivery possible.
The kids were also happy getting balloons, talking to John and being puzzled with his funny accent.