Mão Amiga is a private school in Itapecerica da Serra, which is about an hour away from our school. Their objective is to give neighbouring communities in Itapecerica access to affordable and quality education. The school pays its expenses through support from donors, so their resources are limited. In 2012, our school began a partnership with Mão Amiga. Further information about the school can be found at http://www.colegiomaoamiga.org.br/.
In December, three members of the school council and I had the opportunity to visit the school, and I was truly amazed to see the impact our community has made to the lives of 500 pupils. With our school's donation they were able to build and restore an entire building with new and improved classrooms, bathrooms that are appropriate for the children's age and a beautiful playroom. The building was named "edifício St. Paul's School", as a tribute to the help they have been given.
During the visit we entered some classes and the attention and dedication of the pupils was admirable. They would not take their eye off of the teacher; one of the pupils approached me very excited about his achievement of having completed 5 pages of work in his Portuguese class. When we asked them if they were enjoying their class, we would receive a very enthusiastic and unanimous yes. When the visit was over, children from the middle school put together two performances to thank us for contributing so much to their school. The performances ended with the pupils giving us thank you notes and warm hugs.
Michelle, a 15-year-old girl who is part of the first class who began studying at the school in 2002, also delivered a speech about what the school meant to her and her community. She also thanked the ones who helped the school become what it is today, and who consequently also helped her achieve her hopes and dreams. I had the chance to talk to Michelle, who explained she was extremely happy to be starting high school next year. Previously the school did not have the resources to provide a high school education to pupils, and Michelle feared not being able to afford somewhere else. But with the help of partnerships and donations the school is now able to provide a high school programme. Now Michelle is excited at the prospect of completing her high school diploma and eventually being able to enrol at a public university.
Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and their motivation to learn has made me value more the opportunities we are given at St. Paul’s all the more. We are really fortunate to be able to receive such an excellent education; this should lead us to work to the best of our abilities at all times, and always remember the importance of giving back.
Carolina Pascolato Costa
Vice School Captain
St. Paul's School