Casa do Caminho UK
managed by C. Maclay
Casa do Caminho (www.casadocaminhobrasil.org) is a Brazilian not-for-profit organisation that operates three shelters for vulnerable and underprivileged children near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its mission is;
• To shelter and protect children and adolescents from difficult family backgrounds and vulnerable situations.
• To give priority to children's education.
• To help them prepare for re-integration into a family situation where possible.
• To improve adolescents' employment potential.
• To develop projects promoting education, health, sports, culture and leisure pursuits.
The organisation operates three ‘orphanages’ (more accurately ‘shelters’) in a rural area called Xerém, outside Rio de Janeiro, catering for approximately 40 children between the ages of 4 and 16. The director – Bart Bijen – is assisted by local administrators, a teacher and a team of ‘educadores’ that provide care to the children, but also utilising skilled international volunteers to support their work. Casa do Caminho has a relationship with the local community which is mutually beneficial, running a number of concurrent projects aimed at providing services to the community; the building of a Sports & Community Centre in the local rural area, the creation of a language school in Rio de Janeiro, an ICT project to introduce digital inclusion in their local area, and others.
In September 2007, a number of UK ex-volunteers from the Brazilian organisation came together to form a partner charity in the UK, called Casa do Caminho UK (Casa UK). The aim of this charity is to raise awareness and funding for its Brazilian counterpart, and also capitalise on the skills and experience of previous and prospectivevolunteers, to build a growing network of support and funding for Casa do Caminho Brazil.