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We have delivered our first shelf!

posted Jul 29, 2016, 12:26 PM by Beatriz de Oliveira   [ updated Aug 29, 2016, 1:02 PM ]

I am very proud to say that thanks to all of the various donations we have received, as well as a great amount of support, Books for a Change has delivered its first shelf! I must say, the experience of donating 40 books to a public daycare was amazing! To know that because of you, and Books for a Change about 200 children will have the chance at a better future is an astounding thought.

Our first donation took place at an UMEI daycare in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. For those of you who may not know, UMEI is a government funded project that creates daycares in Brazil. The government builds and funds the UMEI, but what is done with the daycare and how it is run is up to the director. The UMEI that we were fortunate enough to visit, has a wonderful and dedicated director, Adriana Fonzeca de Castro. With the small sum of money that she was given from the government, Adriana was able to create a kind and welcoming environment for every child that entered the daycare, as well as the primary school which she also directs. But with the financial state that Brazil is currently in, the UMEI is left with almost no money to feed, clothe, and teach the children. They have fallen upon hard times but with the support and donations of others, can continue to do the amazing job they have been doing. Adriana and the Daycare's contact information will be below.

From the moment that I entered the daycare, I knew that this bookshelf donation would be like no other. The atmosphere was welcoming and the smell of rice and beans being prepared wafted through the air. Though the building was torn up and worn, you could tell that the space was very loved. The cracked walls were painted bright colors and the school was covered in hand drawn images, as well as positive messages. With the books and shelf in hand, I waited to meet with the director, Adriana. Class was almost in session, going to begin a day later, and the school was filled with a flurry of activity. People were cleaning the rooms and cribs, preparing food for a lunch break, and fixing broken classrooms. We were sent into a small, white room filled with two desks and an ancient computer where the director would be. It was there, that for the next 15 minutes, I explained the Books for a Change project to the school director and learned of her work at the school. The school has been open for the last 10 years or so and every year, they have strived to create the best atmosphere possible for their students.

The children that attend this school have to go through a special process to qualify to become students. 70% of the kids are chosen based on income and their quality of life. In this case, the children picked, are the ones with the lowest family income. The other 30% are chosen by a lottery. Some families that do not make the cut to be one of the 70%, can re-apply and hope to be chosen. For most families and children, the school is a safe place. All students are placed in a warm, nurturing environment where they can thrive, despite various difficulties outside of school.

The Director of the school and all of the staff that work at the UMEI have done a phenomenal job in assisting these children and giving them a chance to succeed in life, despite the many challenges they may face. If you would like to help the school and get in contact with them, the information will be below. Note: the school is based on donations, and although partially funded by the government, Brazil is in a tough economical situation causing the Daycare to fend for itself. All donations toward the school are greatly appreciated!

Our bookshelf is only one of the many ways that we try to help the children that go to these daycares. By giving them books, we are creating an incentive for these kids to begin reading at a young age. As they develop, their love in literature can only grow, allowing them a successful time in school and their futures. We hope that the books we give will spark their love in reading and lay a path for a better future.

Contact Information of the Daycare:

Email: emmp@pbh.gov.br

Phone Number: 011 - 55 - (31) 3277 -8840

Name: UMEI Belo Horizonte


The director and I 
The entrance to the school 

 Their book corner (a small shelf with ripped books held together by tape

The bookshelf we donated! 
The exit of the daycare
 The Director and I with the bookshelf
 The area the daycare was in