Working with the street children of Brazil
Liz Searle shares her experience
I spent a month in the summer of 2000 at the Quixote (pronounced “keyshotsch”) Project working with street children in São Paulo, Brazil. This is a day programme run by the department of psychiatry at the Paulista Medical School and the Federal University of São Paulo. The philosophy of the project is to offer an alternative social network and activities for children to replace their existing lives on the street or their dependence on drugs or both, while dealing with any underlying emotional issues, and providing some hope of a brighter future. I found that the Brazilians had a natural warmth and affection, which was extended to the children, creating a supportive and accepting environment.
My day to day work at the project involved taking part in various workshops. Activities are relevant to the culture of the children and adolescents, including graffiti, breakdancing, drumming and “capoeira” (Brazilian fighting dance), as