I arrived in Rio as an exchange student and I felt with the Brazilian culture. That’s why I was anxious to learn everything about the Brazilian reality, meet people from different backgrounds, and fell myself as a helpful person. I really liked Mais Caminhos and the Positive Discipline attitude they apply in the program, so I decided to become a volunteer, one afternoon a week.
I found out that the knowledge transfer was the only the tip of the iceberg. For me, the purpose of this volunteering process is: take children out of the community, of the violence, of adult’s problems, to let them be children; teach them that, as human beings, they have an infinity value, they are capable of doing a lot of things, and they deserve respect and affection.
The greatest happiness: see our children acting like children. In other words, laughing of foolish things, playing, giving and receiving affection! It is a long term commitment, because it takes several weeks, sometimes months, for a child to accept and trust the new volunteer. But in the end, I have received lot of joy and affection from the children and they showed me how open they were to know more about me, because I came from France.
I learned a lot with our kids, some of which were: to have patience, some psychology, creativity (they always want to learn something new!)… Things that in the end I can adapt to use in my profession or if I become a mother! I loved this experience and I recommend to everybody.
Alice Guyot, France
Being a volunteer at Mais Caminhos gave me a huge personal and professional experience. A knowledged I will take for my entire life!
To know the needs and what children need to improve their development was a great treasure. I learned a lot, mainly to have more patience and to respect the children, help them with their matters and understand their world.
Mais Caminhos programme was a big open door for me to know more and to obtain more knowledge, the programme do an important function in children’s life, making them to have the freedom to express themselves and to do what they like in a health way, helping in their development giving them affection and dedication.
Daiane Gonçalves, Brazil
When I was dismissed from the company I was working for, I thought to transform this new reality in something positive, to take this time I had to make some of my dreams come true. One of them was to donate more of my time in a volunteering job, something that was always part of my life, but in a secondary position. I wanted something related to education, because I believe that’s the only way to change someone’s life.
I started searching online and I found out the website atados.com. Between many options, the one that stands out was Mais Caminhos because of its bold proposal.
I read more, when I found out that a friend was working with volunteering for a while and It was at Mais Caminhos I got surprised. After that, there was no doubt. I was sure this project was something amazing.
I found a welcoming environment, with a proposal to make the difference in children’s life, no only teaching English but teaching citizenship. The focus is to make children know themselves, giving them self esteem.
When you start in a volunteering, you believe that you will be teaching, that there is some hierarchy between students and teachers. There isn’t that hierarchy, indeed, It is more than that. It is a terrific exchange. You learn how to be flexible, to listen to, to care, to love and to understand.
I loved to be part of this team of volunteers and I recommend you to live this experience.
Daniella Michel, Brazil
It was an amazing experience to join the Summer Program. It was something new for me and I’m verry glad to be part of it. The conviviality with kids and other volunteers was great. I still miss them!
Thais Emanuelle Pimenta, Brazil
It was going to be a good afternoon, but I had nothing to do at home, so I decided I should go to Mais Caminhos to see what was going on there. For my big surprise they needed help with some activities for these kids and I stayed to help them.
After a small walk, talking about how we are able to help others doing small things like listen to someone else I meet those happy and excited children. I think I was a little bit nervous because I didn’t know them and I was afraid they didn’t like me or didn’t want to play with me. I was there to help, but I needed them to enjoy my company so I could be able to help in a proper way.
After the second walk when we arrived at the language center for the lunch I noticed those kids were different and that I would learn more with them that they would learn with me and they would accept my way of behavior because they accept the differences. They know the rules, they wait for each other, they get worried about each other and they care about everybody. I meet a kind of family there, with different people, that speaks in a different way and some children that have something else we can’t explain but we are able to fell. I had an incredible and funny day.
My impression is that what they do there with children is something soft, kind, and helps not only them and their community, It helps us, the volunteers, to understand that we can be the difference for someone and that everyone can do great things, what we need to do is to believe in ourselves and have this small help to keep going to the way to an amazing future.
Daniela Pacheco, Brazil
Having the opportunity to do a volunteering job for Mais Caminhos working with Emotional Coaching for teenagers from Cantagalo and Pavão-Pavãozinho Favelas, was an unforgettable experience. The idea of the project was to sensibilize them in front of different fundamental themes to develop emotional intelligence, as assentive communication, the self esteem and the learn to recognize our emotions to channelize them with a positive feeling and not in a aggressive one. Children are a crude potencial, that I have the conviction that if the can be guided in time with a good example, a good orientation and dialogue, it can be able to open door to a more promising future for each one of them. It has changed me in a positive manner the harmony work that could be created, the moments when children could be sensitized and open their hearts, it only made the process worth for me.
Natalia Arias, Colombia
My name is Alex Burns, I am 27 years old and I am from North Carolina, USA. I worked for Mais Caminhos for six months after coming to Brazil two times before. It is a country I can’t seem to get enough of! I came for the first time in 2014 and fell in love with the people and the energy that seems to be contagious! I decided in 2014 that I wanted to return some day to live and work in Rio for a while… so I made it happen! It was a truly challenging and wonderful experience! The team welcomed me with open arms and become close companions of mine during my transition to Brazil. It was a great support system to have fellow colleagues and friends with the same passions for international understanding and aiding marginalized populations. It was a unique experience to have a multicultural team with perspectives from various backgrounds and cultures.
My professional background is in program management and I am committed to working on the frontlines of international development. Mais Caminhos was a wonderful opportunity to work at the grassroots level with communities facing developmental challenges and social inequality. History has proven that communities and nations are transformed when children are given their fundamental human rights and the chance to reach their fullest potentials. As someone that grew up with fundamental rights such as education, safety and opportunities to achieve my aspirations, I believe I need to lead by example and bear the responsibility of improving future outlooks for those who are not as fortunate. Mais Caminhos gave me the chance to bring these goals to fruition and to gain a greater understanding of what social inequality and economic limitations truly look like and how they directly affect the lives of youth in Brazil. Working at Mais Caminhos gave me the opportunity to advance the lives of children who face the greatest obstacles and vulnerabilities in a country plagued by inequality, and it also served as a catalyst for my career within global development.
There was never a dull day at Mais Caminhos but I genuinely learned the value of patience and perseverance! These are truly special kids with abundant potential.
Alex Burns, USA