Currently the project is serving 260 families. However, due to Covid-19 things are very different. The staff are contacting their pupils regularly by WhatsApp, providing learning tasks and encouragement. Some children have sent in photos of their home study challenges. Whether it’s dancing, making up poetry, maths in the kitchen or Portuguese sitting on the bed, University of Life students are trying their best to learn in the most difficult situations.
Covid restrictions also meant that many families in the favelas lost their income from restaurant, domestic and cleaning work etc. There was no government help and life became very difficult. Marc and Ruth are very grateful for the extra financial support received which has enabled the staff to provide four packages of food over the past year for 260 families. Each package contained basic food to feed a family for a fortnight. The latest package weighed 27 Kg and included a frozen chicken, rice, beans oil,
pasta, coffee, canned vegetables, eggs etc , plus cleaning materials.
Teacher Sylvia writes
“Families come to the project to collect their package. This time it was evident that stepping into the lush green grounds of The University of Life was a therapy in itself to tired families. Despite the masks and social distancing, children were relieved to see their teachers face to face. For our new students, it was their first opportunity to meet them in person. One after another, parents commented how thankful they were for the love and support that they receive from UNiViDA.
While families came in to collect their packages, we played familiar music from our school assemblies and had some of our students dancing on the stage in the gymnasium. It certainly brought smiles to a lot of faces. We are so thankful to every-one who helped make this possible. Many parents commented that they had a short-age of food in the home and could not afford to buy meat”.
State schools can now reopen with limited capacity. At the University of Life there are plans for regular small groups of students to come into the project to discuss their educational progress and re-establish relationships and routine. We are safely able to provide a number of activities for children in an outdoor environment including discussion groups, dance, some sports and Bible study. For children who have
been out of structured classes this will be step one of a journey back to learning. Throughout May, staff met twice a week. Please pray for our plans and for our ongoing health and protection as we continue this journey. Thanks for your support
PS Staff are being called up for vaccination in June.