05 Aug

Davi was the source of inspiration on Holland Day at the Escola Municipal Holanda on Ilha Governador in Rio de Janeiro.

This day was a collaboration between the City Hall, the Dutch Consulate of Rio de Janeiro, the Escola Municipal Holanda (‘Holanda – or Holland – Municipal School’) and Mais Caminhos. Escola Municipal Holanda is a state school on Ilha Governador – which is on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. It is located in the favela there. It was named ‘Holanda’ in a period when it was common to choose a country as the name for a school. Since its inception, the school has enjoyed a long-term relationship with the Dutch Consulate in Rio de Janeiro.

The school wanted a very special day to share with others around the theme ‘Holland’. It was initially planned for June, but due to some disturbances between police and favela locals the City Hall decided to postpone it for security reasons. All the schoolchildren were hugely looking forward to their special day in June, so they were disappointed at the news.  Luckily, we were given a new chance to celebrate on the 3rd of July, so they didn’t have too long to wait!

School children waitingThe day started with a lot of energy. All the students were in the square waiting for their guests to arrive. For the little ones it was quite a long period to wait. They did so beautifully. Upon arrival, all the guests gave animated speeches to the children: Mrs Jurema Holperin, undersecretary of Education; Mr Laudemar Aguiar, International Relation Coordinator of the Government of Rio de Janeiro; and Mr Arjen Uijterlinde, the Dutch Consul. All the students sang the national anthem of Brazil with love and dedication. This was followed by the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, which was impressively sung by a group of students from 5th and 6th grades. It was such a pleasure to hear them sing the Wilhelmus. Beautifully closed by the anthem of Rio de Janeiro.


Davi was the hero of the day! Just like one year ago in The Netherlands, where he had shared his life in Brazil, he shared his experiences and stories about his life in the orphanage and about his school life. The children from the 5th and 6th grades were very interested about his life in The Netherlands. Davi shared with them that, on reflection, he was very happy to have lived in this small Dutch place called Beek.  They wanted to know about his host family, Dani and Carla Pirsons, and his stepsister, Nancy. He told a funny story about how he frequently got lost but there were always people helping him find his way back. The children were impressed with the way Davi had managed everything: study at ROC in Heerlen; his work at the Laeven Installation company; how he and the people he met had overcome their language barriers; and, above all else, how much he learned and how he had taken guardianship over Luciana and Tiago upon his return to Rio.

The most exciting part for the youngsters was his football ´career´: this was a hot topic!  The most important questions they asked were: ´What was your position?´, ´What did you achieve?´, and ´How differently do they play football?´.

Davi inspired the children with his smile and warm nature, advising them to study hard, work hard, and have self-belief in all that they did.  He also told them it was important to remain humble and show respect towards themselves and others.

EMHOLANDA_062715_101As well as the positive energy generated by the warm and honest attention given by Davi, a hugely beneficial part of Davi’s encouragement – and the most valuable lesson for the children – was the way he emphasised the connection between education and being inspired to study. Everyone was very impressed.

This inspiring and motivational speech sparked the beginning of an engaging connection with all the children. They created many beautiful drawings of bouquets of tulips to express their love of The Netherlands….

A lot of photos were taken that day, and Davi was clearly the star of the show as one of the favourite people to be photographed with.


The smiles and hugs from the children were delightful. It was an important day for these young and vulnerable children and the presence of Davi and his brilliant presentation made the day a huge success.

See link to the website of the Dutch Consulate

Evenement bij Escola Municipal Holanda

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