JANUARY / FEBRUARY: Report and Special Fund Raising Event On March 1, 2010

On March 1st Mundo Real will host an informative and festive fundraising PARTY for the First Steps project in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Rocket Club in West Asheville. If you happen to be in the area please come join us at 8pm. Musical entertainment will include live performances by Jar-e, Banana da Terra, Zambumba, and Jonathon Scales. The event is certain to raise your awareness of our efforts in Brazil as well as get you in the dancing mood. In addition, there will be a silent art auction. Works provided by local artists will help raise funds for the efforts of First Steps in Rocinha. The evening begins at 8:00 PM and their will be a $10 cover at the door.

To date, First Steps has succeeded in coordinating basic services and assistance for 100 special needs residents in Rocinha. To reiterate, special needs residents are those with incapacitating mental and physical disabilities, the chronically ill, and the elderly. It is also important to repeat that most of these individuals, and their families, are unaware of their universal human rights, as well as those bestowed upon them as citizens of Brazil. This is evident from the sheer number of residents who have never received proper health care, and in some cases received no health care whatsoever.

To aid us in finding and identifying these individuals, in a community as heavily populated and complex as Rocinha, First Steps utilizes a list of over 600 special needs residents that we obtained from a local public agency. Our team has been working tirelessly to verify whether the list is accurate, up-to-date, and representative of Rocinha’s special needs population.

With this objective in mind First Steps is meticulously developing a complete and updated list of those with special needs. The numbers continue to increase well beyond those collected by the public agency, and as a result the need to provide basic services to these individuals increases as well. First Steps anticipates that its list of those with special needs will grow to over 1000 by the end of 2008.

First Steps and Mundo Real have conducted 75 in-depth interviews with these individuals and their families as part of an intensive research initiative intended to assist First Steps in organizing a comprehensive program plan built around education, prevention and direct assistance.

The services provided by First Steps continue in the area of transportation, advocacy, house visits, and health related education (including citizen and human rights training).

Mundo Real’s 2008 goals for the First Steps Project:

  1. Continue to sustain, expand and improve upon our current work efforts.
  2. Obtain a van adapted for disabled individuals. Having one specially equipped van would meet the first requirement of our transportation goal of eventually acquiring several vehicles for transporting special needs resident and thus vastly improving their ability to move.
  3. Acquire a storefront office space along Rocinha’s main road in order to better serve the needs of Rocinha’s special needs population. This would allow us to become better known, significantly improving our presence in the community and our ability to inform locals of our project’s activities. An office would function as a concrete location where we could enhance our capacity to organize advocacy-based services for community residents by providing educational workshops. We estimate, based on official census figures that as many as 5,000 residents in Rocinha could directly benefit from and utilize the support, educational, and organizational services that First Steps aims to expand/create.
  4. Prepare and distribute First Steps provided family food packages to those residents in most need of them.
  5. Initiate an increasingly prevention oriented movement that would include working with high risk youth, pregnant teenagers, and young mothers among other vulnerable groups in the community.