Volunteers are one of the driving forces of Julio Otoni project. Since its inception in 2006, volunteers from all over the world have had a chance to experiencing the work with the children, the challenges of sustaining a project in a Favela in Rio, the joy of seeing the children participating and evolving through the activities. We continue to welcome volunteers especially the ones that are able to engage for a long stay. In our page http//www.juliootoni.wordpress.com , it is possible to find the current activities and the ways to engage. Here we include the testimonies of the two volunteers that have experienced Julio Otoni. Teresa Keohane from the UK is volunteering with Julio Otoni since her arrival in Brazil in 2006. Today Teresa helps recruiting volunteers to the project. Listen what she says: "Volunteering at the Julio Otoni Project was an amazing and thoroughly rewarding experience. The children at the project are so eager to learn and get the most out of the activities offered and you really feel that by being there you are making a difference. It is very rewarding to be able to offer something to these children and give them the chance to participate in activities and experiences that they otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to be part of, and interact with people they normally wouldn't come into contact with. This all helps to broaden their horizons and perhaps makes a difference to their future and the choices they make in it. Also, as a volunteer I found that the experience helped me grow on a personal level as you get the chance to learn and challenge yourself in ways that you would not normally do. The Julio Otoni Project is a unique volunteering opportunity in Rio - aside from being an amazing experience, the project is well organised and you feel that your skills or desire to help are being put to a good use. Also, it is one of the few projects in Rio where volunteers are not charged a fee to participate in the project which helps make it more accessible for potential volunteers." Laure Huys from France spent two months volunteering at Julio Otoni, May and June of 2012. Here is what she says. "I had an amazingly great and rich experience teaching at the Centro comunitario Julio Otoni. What I appreciated is that I got there from one day to the other and I was free to teach whatever I wanted. I decided to teach arts and crafts based on recycled material to educate and sensitize the kids to sustainable development and to motivate their creativity with what they have. So, I came twice a week to teach and spend some time with the kids. Thanks to this I learnt portugues very quickly and I got to know a lot about how people live in favelas, how brasilians are in a very creative and joyful atmosphere. For sure, I would recommend anyone to have the same experience and for sure, I would do it again!" Would you like to recommend Julio Otoni for a volunteer that comes to Rio? Get in contact: email@example.com http://facebook.com/juliootoni
A mosaic was created with recycled materials that were collected by the children in the community. It took the children 3 weeks to collect the material needed to build the mosaic. The mosaic was designed by the Chilean/Mexican plastic artist Jose Maria "Kotik" Villela. The idea of the mural was based on Capoeira. The construction of the mosaic took two weeks with the help of volunteers and the children who worked hard to create the art at the entrance wall of the community center. The children learn about the possibilities of reusing items, increasing the ecological awareness of both the residents and children of the community with the wonderful idea creating art through recycling.
At Julio Otoni´s Community Center the children are still learning new things and developing their skills.
In art classes the children have created their own stories and scenarios by using models made of clay, each group of children were able to conjure up their own own world and share their stories with their companions. These stories included a football game, a pond with ducklings and a couple, a seabed, a forest, a desert, a beach and these were just a few of the imaginative scenes.
During a painting class the children learned how to mix and make different colors by just using primary colours and as a result found a universe of new colours they could us within their beautiful designs.
Also in music lessons, they were busy learning rhythms and musical notes, they even made their own drums using bottles and cans and enjoyed playing these new percussion instruments with their hands and feet!
The summer is an opportunity to join hands with the community of the favela, the neighbors of the street and some volunteers for new activities. This year the season has started with the preparation for the Christmas party, which also means the conclusion the year. For some the older ones this means that they will engage in other activities. This year the preparation for the Christmas party was quite especial. Children planned the party, prepared many of the presents that were offered to the parents, to the tutors and to their friends. Photos show how happy they felt at the occasion. 2011 was an year of good results for the project. Among other things there was the Vagalumes exhibition that was the result of a three month course on photography and video.
In 2012, there are new plans for increasing activities that bring the children outside the favela, so they can appreciate what the wonderful city of Rio offers in terms of museums, music and other activities free of charge.
The exhibition Vagalumes brought to Rio de Janeiro´s attention the talents of young children of Favela Julio Otoni. During three months volunteers coordinated by Frances Ridley trained the children to have a look into their community through the lens of a camera. Pips from Within, how Frances called it. Several of the children involved demonstrated to have talent for photography. They loved it. One of them Heverton did a number of outstanding photos.
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Rio de Janeiro,
Rio de Janeiro,