Brazil: Associação Beneficiente Guainumbi is a small initiative for disabled adults in Jardim Angela, one of the most dangerous districts in the peripheries of Sao Paolo. The institution looks after 15 children aged 7-14, as well as 85 adults with disabilities. During the morning, the initiative offers activities such as woodwork, cooking, painting, theatre and hygiene. In the afternoon, time is reserved for house visits in the Favelas, orientation help for adults and training for the Parents.
It was the misery people with disabilities suffered from that affected Aureliane Maria de Melo Lira in such a way that she decided to take up responsibility fort these people. She witnessed the fact that the disabled were not able to find any kind of shelter in Sao Paul and so she decided to found an initiative.
Monte Azul, the big pioneer initiative of Waldorf social-education work in Sao Paulo, was the inspiration which gave a frame to Associação Beneficiente Guainumbi, Aureliane Maria de Melo Lira. Until this point in her life she had worked for Monte Azul for a period of many years and supported Ute Creamer with building up this pioneer institution. Now Ute Cramer donated the property in Jardim Angela to Aureliane Maria de Melo Lira. Ever since, this property has been a home to Associação Beneficiente Guainumbi, which was founded in 2001.
With the help of a trust, the initiative was able to build a small house in 2002, making it possible for people with disabilities to live in the institution itself. Furthermore a first contract with the city council allowed a morning-assistance to 40 people, out of which 20 were allowed to remain in the initiative during the afternoon. Despite the public support, lunch at Associação Beneficiente Guainumbi can only be served thanks to food donations. Without the regular funding of the “Friends of Waldorf Education” and other organisations, Associação Beneficiente Guainumbi would not be able to continue their work, despite the fact that their commitment is already carried through with very simple means.
The Director Aureliane Maria de Melo Lira dedicates her time not only to her daily therapeutic work but additionally keeps on trying to obtain the necessary fundraising. Together with her co-workers, all of them put in a lot of effort in order to secure, ameliorate and enhance the existing offers for the people they care for.
The huge commitment of the entire initiative, lead to numerous changes. For instance they were able to rent another house in 2004, hosting seven people who require special care. Additionally there is a plan to build another house. Thanks to two volunteers, sent by the “Weltwärts” program of the “Friends of Waldorf Education” a gardening project has been brought into life. This small project is now being taken care of by the co-workers and the following volunteers.