Daily Life at ReVive #1

We’d like to share with you all some of the difficulties/challenges/interesting things which happen in the day to day life at ReVive. This post is on Schools.

One of the first challenges we face when a new girl arrives at ReVive is getting her back into school. Generally, they’ve been out of school for some time and need to get back into full time education. The task of doing this lies with ReVive’s Social Worker, Iúle. These are just some of the challenges she faces:

Brazilian Bureaucracy – You can’t escape it! In order to enrol the girl into a new school you need to have her ‘transfer’ papers and education history from her old school. This involves tracking down where she used to study (sometimes having to go into shanty towns), requesting the papers and keeping on top of the old school until they finally provide them! This can be straightforward if her old school is nearby – but we’ve had cases of children coming from the interior of the state where their old school is 100s of miles away… or the old school has lost the child’s education history… or never received it from her previous school so you have to track down that school and so on…

Once you have the papers the bureaucracy doesn’t stop there! You then need to have the child’s birth certificate and other personal papers in order to enrol them… but most girls coming from abusive and exploitation situations don’t have these documents with them. This then means having to track down these documents – sometimes needing to go to the aggressors house to get them!

School Spaces – Just having the right documentation doesn’t mean a space at school is guaranteed! We try to put the girls in the school’s closest to ReVive – imagine if 10 girls studied at 10 different schools!? The school run would be a marathon! Unfortunately, the local schools are usually over subscribed… Plus, the girls arriving at ReVive tend to do so in the middle of the school year – another complicating factor for putting her back into education. We do have a few aces up our sleeves – we can request a judicial order that the school accepts the girl regardless of having space or not!

The Girl is way behind – One of the most recent arrivals at ReVive is a 13 year old girl … she would be in the equivalent of year 8/9 in the UK… but due to circumstances she’s still in year 5! So, she’s in a class with 6-7 year olds.  A 14 year old arrived last year who couldn’t even read or write.

Obviously, one of the most important things ReVive can offer these girls is help with their education. This is why we built a little classroom at the house and the girls have daily reinforcement classes. We’re also looking at trying to employ a part-time special needs teacher to help those far behind.

The time of our lives

Us-&-girls

By Rob Barnett

 

It was a privilege for Roz, my wife, and I to spend three months with the girls and staff at ReVive International.

 

The ReVive house is a special place because of what is going on there. The girls are generally so happy that it is easy to forget their troubled backgrounds that brought them to the house.

 

It would be misleading for me to paint a picture of perfect harmony, which is unrealistic for any organistation involving people. Like the saying goes, ‘if you find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it’.

 

However, Roz and I experienced a household of laughter, fun and many friendships. We were made to feel welcome there despite the language barrier that we did our best to overcome by learning some Portuguese, spending our first month in Olinda at a local language school.

 

At the house, whether just ‘hanging out’ with the girls or doing crafts or games with them, it was fantastic to get to know some special people who have so much potential.

 

The special people at ReVive are not just the girls, but the staff too. The staff also have lots of laughter, fun and friendships, something again obvious around the house.

 

Collectively, the girls and staff make one big family. Roz and I saw this most clearly at the Christmas party where laughter, fun and friendships dominated the evening.

 

It was wonderful that all the girls were able to spend Christmas and New Year with family or friends, but nice to have most of the girls around the house throughout January for the rest of the summer holidays.

 

Whereas the house is often hectic during term time with different girls going to and from school at various times throughout the day, the holidays allowed more quality time together.

 

So when Roz ran an art or craft activity, or when she and I oversaw outdoor games for the girls, there was a togetherness that encouraged everyone to be involved. For activities that were voluntary, it was rewarding to see the girls engage in them.

 

Not that every day of the holidays was spent at the house. Far from it. There were trips to the beach, parks, and a shopping mall among others to give the girls variety.

 

Variety was happily available to Roz and I too. She liked painting nails on ‘salon day’ each Saturday while I enjoyed helping to maintain the yard and run ReVive’s Twitter account.

 

Friday night outreach to those on the streets of Olinda and informal Sunday morning church services at ReVive, each happening fortnightly, gave further variety to our roles. In our last month running a short Thursday evening devotional, looking at 1 Corinthians 13, added to that.

 

While we are sad that it was just three months in the end we spent with ReVive, and not our intended six, Roz and I are hugely grateful for the opportunities we had.

 

More than that, the friendships we forged made our decision to return home early an exceptionally difficult one.

 

More than anything, we are glad to have so many happy memories of our time at ReVive.