In 1993 the Biondan Family had the idea of building a school in the favelas of Vila Cafetera – Sao Luis, in Brasil, with the money originally allocated for their customers' Christmas presents.
The initiative strongly impressed Walter and Arturo Biondan, as well as their sons; after a few meeting with Sister Armida Terraneo, which has been living in Brasil since 1980, the project started, to bring some change to a country plagued by unemployment, drugs and social and environmental degradation.
The center will be called “Pào da Vida”, "the bread of Life", and it will be erected in Fratelli Biondan street, n°1.
In Northeastern Brazil, 75% of children live in a family where the monthly income is equal or less than € 50, half the minimum wage. The vast majority of these kids live in fatherless families, and 60% of babies in their first year of life live in a house without access to water, toilet and sewers.
20% of kids between 10 and 14 years old are employed as workers, often in abusive and slavish conditions. For these boys and girls school becomes the only way to reach a respectable life.
Nowadays, the “Pao da Vida” has been a strong reality in the community for several years. Kids attend school alternating in two turns, mornings and afternoons, and they receive a free meal per day. The school also provides pediatric and dental examinations as well as psychological counseling.
1) Kindergarden and primary school
3) Kitchen and dining room
4) Junior high school
5) Sisters' house and parents meeting hall
6) First aid center for kids
8) Recreation ground
9) Farming space
The Pào da Vida school is currently being attended by 1478 kids.
Nursery school, 290 kids
Primary school, 789 kids
Junior high school, 399 kids
About 150 people work at the the school as teachers or service personnel.
Available to junior high students. Here they can learn how to use common software and how to use the Internet to obtain information widely outside their usual reach.
Currently used for haircuts for the kids and for their mothers.
A tailor's shop is located inside the structure, to provide uniforms for the students as well as taking care of other small daily dress fixes.
The Biondan Family went to Sào Louis twice to visit the school and admire the astonishing work of Sister Armida. Each time Walter, Arturo and Elisabetta were moved in seeing all the citizens of the town gathered to welcome them with greatest honors.
What they reallly wanted to see, though, were the kids and their quality of life.
Their behaviour at school was characterized by good manners, serenity, happiness and diligence.
It was clear that in those places everyone was BUILDING THE FUTURE.
Three laboratories are available:
1°- Sewing (currently producing the school's uniforms);
2°- Computer Science (used by older kids);
3°- Hairdresser (currently used by the kids attending the school and their mothers).
Sister Armida wants the kids to use these laboratories to teach kids and make them able to obtain PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS.
The school also offers pediatric and dental examinations as well as psychological counseling.
Currently, 700 out of 1.478 children in Sào Louis are being long distance adopted.
Supporting this project is important, because it endorses the principle of school as a central standpoint in society and as a foundation for building the future of individuals and of the collective Nation.
In this hard reality, where most of the houses, the favelas, are made of mud, without an access to water and electric energy, where the open sewers cause the spread of diseases, and where girls often become mothers at a very early age, the missionary house and the school become the ONLY GUIDING LIGHTS.
All the contributions given in the past years were of paramount importance to build the center, but there is still a lot to do. Those who want to help the development of the center can contribute by helping kids through long distance adoption.