Susana Rodrigues and her husband volunteer with Fazendo do Mundo Um Lugar Melhor (FMULM). In September of 2010, she began inviting a handful of children from low-income neighbors to spend their afternoons and holidays enjoying the recreational facilities of the center, along with her own two young children, Lorena and Markus. The children enjoyed playing tag, hide-and-seek, ball games, and imitating the choreography of the children’s videos. In time, excursions to interesting places were organized and special gifts provided for these children who had very little at home.
Soon a small performing group took shape, making lively appearances at “Lar Menino Jesus” (a center for abandoned children), and for friends and sponsors of FMULM.
The children began picking up simple words used in everyday English and showed an obvious desire to learn more. Susana visited the local elementary school, “Sítio das Araucarias,” where all the neighborhood children attended and offered to provide English classes twice a week, free of charge. The teachers and principals were very grateful to be able to add English to the school curriculum. Susana now teaches at the school twice a week, instructing roughly 140 children from the surrounding community.
Having seen one of the children’s performances, the principal begged her to also teach choreography lessons to all the students, specifically for commemorative dates. The children’s debut performance was on Mother’s Day.
Susana adds, “My hopes are that these classes can become a permanent part of the school curriculum, and that through our network of friends, we can find more teachers who would be willing to enrich the children’s curriculum with higher-quality programs and a greater diversity of electives.”