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From Italy to Brazil to Give All The Love You Can: The Experience of the Young Volunteers of Casa do Menor

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Mixed emotions and thoughts envelop the minds of a group of young people leaving for Miguel Couto, Brazil. It’s the morning of the 24 of July, they carry heavy backpacks on their shoulders and their eyes are full of all the joy and fear of the first, great travel of their lives.

They are leaving from Mondovì, where these young volunteers work in the Italian center of Casa do Menor. Here they welcome children and young victims of drug addiction, domestic violence and abandonment. Brazil is a turning point in their volunteering experience.

What will they find?

A cursed and beautiful land, a Father who has donated his life to save the last ones and to be a presence of love among the infernal streets of the Brazilian favelas. They will find despair, but also a lot of joy and will to dance.

Brazil is like that, full of contradictions. It’s the mirror of the lack of love which is infecting the whole contemporary society, as Father Renato Chiera said many times. You can become aware of this too, by simply looking around you.

How many desperate persons walk on the streets, how many young people are the victims of several forms of social unrest, how many children are abused and abandoned. All this due to a lack of love, of a hug, of listening.

Get back on one’s own feet and start living again after such difficult experiences is almost impossible.

Most of all if nobody offers you a second chance, and the means through which you can build your own future.

Nowadays Brazil is one of the most violent countries in the world. For over thirty years, Father Renato has worked in the suburbs of the poorest and most wretched cities, offering to meninos de rua and to young abandoned kids – often the victims of drug abuse and prostitution – an opportunity of rebirth.

Casa di Menor, which has five centers in Brazil, is a reality which offers services to very young children, to adolescents and to adult persons:

  • it’s a shelter house, where children are protected, they go to school and participate to many recreational activities
  • it’s a training center, where adolescents can take professional courses (mechanic, computer tech, hairdresser, beautician, carpenter…)
  • it’s a shelter house for young single mothers
  • it’s a place where ex drug addicts can follow rehab therapies, both psychological and physical
  • it’s a meeting place for the whole community, a prayer center where families can be together and find comfort.
  • it’s a reality which organizes many training courses for volunteers, who can live an unforgettable experience by actively participating to the life of the association
  • it’s a beautiful posada for those tourists who want to turn their holidays into a travel of sharing, donating and solidarity tourism

In the center of Miguel Couto, the young volunteers of Mondovì carry out several activities in the house shelters, from playing with the children, to the cleaning services. Their day follows hectic rhythms, strong emotions and moments of sharing thoughts and reflections with Father Renato.

Why is all this so important? And why am I telling you about these little, wonderful news?

Here’s the answer: I believe these young volunteers can teach us a lot. In front of problems which seem insuperable, they left and made themselves available.

With courage and determination, they decided to put themselves out there and BE THERE.

You can do this too. Together with the friends of the Angelo Affinita Foundation, which for many years has sustained Casa do Menor, you can decide to be there. To not look the other way, but to face the desperation of these kids and do something to give them hope.

Thanks to the support of those who have believed in the work of Father Renato, the Foundation could finance several training courses, projects of adoption from abroad and the building and maintenance of the center of Igarassu.

Of course, these are amazing results, but it’s not enough.

There is a need for financing to:

  • strengthen the programs of rehab from drug abuse, because they need perseverance and care
  • increase the number of sleeping accommodations and centers of Casa do Menor, to welcome more children of the streets and abandoned kids
  • increase the staff dedicated to teaching, both at school and at the professional courses for young persons

We still have a lot to do, and I know all this seems impossible to face. But maybe the words of Giulia, a young volunteer, will help you understand why the moment to act is NOW:

This experience is a need for me. Donating all the love I have inside my heart is not an act of proudness, but a huge, immense need. With Casa do Menor and the training I could focalize my place in the world, now I work to realize it.

This is the time to also realize your commitment and to donate all the strength and the love you have, to give life and true hope to the children of the Casa do Menor.

Angelo Affinita used to say: “A single person can make a difference”.

Do we want to try – TOGETHER – to make a difference? CLICK HERE.

A web page will open so you can give your decisive contribution to the projects of the Foundation and choose how to help us through a free-will donation or buying the book dedicated to Angelo.

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