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What are you doing?
We, Nicola and Jeremy are going to partake in the Men& 39;s Health Survival of the Fittest in October of this year which is an 10km course but complete with obstacles (as seen in the video). It is a VERY BIG challenge, one that is going to take a lot of effort and training to complete but we are determined to complete it so we can raise money for CIACAC.
So what is CIACAC?
CIACAC is a charity in Rio de Janeiro that supports children and young people by offering them both a space and also support for them to grow and gain new experiences that wouldn& 39;t otherwise be available to them. They offer them extra support with schoolwork in both Portuguese and Maths, IT, opportunities to gain new skills such as Guitar, capoeira ( a brazilian martial art), English, and also citizen classes which tell them about their rights which is essential as often they don& 39;t know them.
I partook in one of these citizen events and was surprised to learn amongst other things, that they didn& 39;t know they had rights to get free entrance in national museums because they lived outside in a favela and that they had a right to say what facilities where built in their neighbourhood so you can see why these classes are necessary.
Also with CIACAC, the children get the chance to go on educational visits, which although aren& 39;t far most have never been to some key sights in their home city.
How did it start?
Well Neuza, the charity founder began it as a way of keeping her son of the streets and away from the drug gangs. She took him and his friends on a day trip out. She wanted to show him and his friends that there was another life outside of the favela. Since then the project has grown and all the children from the community are welcome. The doors to CIACAC& 39;s and Neuza& 39;s house are open pretty much all day as Brazilian children go to school in either the morning or the afternoon so they spend more time at home and so can come to CIACAC to partake in particular activities or just use the computers and other resources to do homework.
And what is this funding all about?
CIACAC is doing ok for itself. It is located downstairs whilst Neuza lives above. Over the years, it has received generous donations of furniture, computers as well as clothing. However, CIACAC doesn& 39;t just rely on money, it also needs volunteers. Recently, there have been more international volunteers, Nicola included and they need a place to stay. The plan is to build a self contained flat to sleep 8 volunteers (there are often groups) which would generate some income for CIACAC and also make it easier for volunteers to stay and help.
How did you get involved?
Well Nicola spent a month in Rio in 2011 working with Neuza and CIACAC. She saw the workings of the charity and the passion that Neuza has for the charity, she literally eats, lives and breathes CIACAC and hardly has any time for herself. Often you& 39;ll hear someone shouting over the wall at her. She is dedicated to improving it, works vertically single handily and she has won UNICEF awards. Her commitment is just remarkable.
Whilst Nicola was there she helped with some of the administrative classes and also led art classes which on limited supplies were rather interesting. Having lived there, sleeping in the computer room she knows what a huge difference building a self contained apartment would do. It would allow the volunteers more space and also free up space downstairs that could be used for the children.
It looks like work has already begun so why do you still need help?
Well yes it has, there has been a lot constructed already but there are still things lacking that need to be bought before it can begin earning revenue. They need a door for the bedroom, a window, plaster and paint for the walls as well as finishing the front part of the extension. In addition they need mattresses and other furniture.
What is your target?
We have set a low target of £150 which is actually only a eighth of the money CIACAC needs to complete the work but we hope to be able to smash this target.
Finally we would just like to say thank you for sponsoring us to run this 10km race, something we never thought we& 39;d be doing. And let the training commence.
Where can I find out more?
There are several articles about CIACAC
or you can check out their facebook page: CIACAC Parada de Lucas
and their photo albums https://picasaweb.google.com/103843648645185463532