Check out the extension progress!
#DailyLife 3- Iúle
By Becky Reid
As part of our Daily Life series at ReVive International, it’s important that we give you all an insight into the work of some of our staff members so you guys have a better idea of what goes on here! Having already written about our psychologist Erika, it’s now time to introduce you to our social worker Iúle.
Iúle has been with us for two years and plays a very important part in our technical team. The purpose of her work here at ReVive International is to act as an agent between the girls, their families and the social services, to defend their basic rights to have access to education, healthcare etc, and to eventually reintroduce them back into a family home.
When a girl first arrives at the Revive house, Iúle immediately arranges a meeting either alongside or separate from our psychologist Erika, another ‘getting to know you’ session to establish trust. The purpose of this meeting is also so that Iúle can listen to the girl and to find out about the abuse she has suffered. Eventually the girl will give a full account of her life leading up to and during the mistreatment, which is useful for Iúle to help her in the case. After this initial discussion Iúle will write a ‘relatório’, a report about what she has heard and send it to the judge for him to read and keep for the girl’s case. She will then commence with collecting necessary documents such as birth certificates, identification cards and CPF numbers. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to even get hold of these basic documents and Iúle can end up going to the aggressor’s house, the person who has abused the girl in order to find what she is looking for. Once these have been found, Iúle will then begin the search for a school. As mentioned in a previous blog post, we have a number of local schools that the girls attend but often it can be difficult to find space for them. In some cases, Iúle has to request an order from the judge, so the school has to accept them.
As well as this, Iúle will set up medical check-ups with the doctor, dentist and organise an initial home visit to the home of the girl’s family in order to understand the situation she comes from and discover possible family that the girl could return to live with. During the girl’s time at ReVive, Iúle will continue to do as many home visits and set up as many meetings with her that she thinks is necessary. To do this she works closely with our psychologists, exchanging information so that they will be able to decide which way is best to move forward with the girl’s situation.
When speaking with Iúle about the best and worst parts of her job, she explains that she enjoys the domestic visits to the girl’s family the most and taking time out to sit and chat with the girls whilst she is at the ReVive house. The part that Iúle most dislikes about her work is understandably the impunity enjoyed by abusers of the ReVive girls, that they’re often not punished for the crimes that they commit. However, the team is currently on the trail of one of the biggest offenders in probably the worst case we have involving a girl at ReVive, so hopefully this will change in the future!
Finally, when the time comes for a girl to return to her own family, Iúle will arrange a final home visit. Usually the girl will have started staying with the family on the weekend and so Iúle will be making sure that the girl is settled and provided for. There is usually final hearing where the judge rules for that particular girl to be sent to the appropriate family, and she will usually be taken there on the same day.
I hope that this short profile gives you all more of an insight into another member of staff and makes you feel more included in the family of ReVive, which includes all of you who support us as well. Stay tuned for the next post coming soon!
Work has begun this week on the new extension at ReVive. We’re extending the first floor of the house to provide us with much more space for our work with the girls. For more info – check out the extension page here on the site.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we’ve managed to raise £25,000! Now we just need another £5,000 to reach our £30k target. Could you help us out? Check out the page for more info!
We’ve just launched a fundraising campaign to try and raise £30,000 to build an extension to the first floor of the ReVive house. There’s loads more information about it plus a video and info about how you can get involved over on the ReVive Extension’s webpage – just look for the link in the menu!
After sharing with you all the process of enrolling a girl into a new school, another important component in the daily life of ReVive is the role of the psychologist and the psychological treatment that the girls receive whilst they are with us. When a new girl arrives at ReVive, sometimes the results of the abuse may be visible particularly if it has been physical. However, the girl will also have experienced severe psychological damage, which isn’t always easy to see or understand and can come in many different forms. The task of working with the ReVive girls in this area lies with Erika, our resident psychologist. She works at ReVive specifically to help give these girls the treatment they need in order to try and come to terms with the abuse they have suffered.
The first thing that our psychologist does when a new girl arrives is to arrange a time for the two of them to meet and have an initial conversation, a ‘getting to know you’ session where trust is established. A contract is made at the start of the treatment to establish that what is said in the room during the sessions is strictly confidential and that Erika will only use what she thinks will help the girls in their case when writing up reports for the social services. Once these initial sessions have begun, Erika will allow the girls to start talking about the abuse that they have suffered. More often than not they will eventually give a full account of everything from a very young age right up to the time that they came to live at ReVive. Our psychologist talks to the girls in groups as well as individually, using a variety of activities to work with the girls depending on their age.
The role of the psychologist also extends beyond the treatment sessions at ReVive. Once a new girl has arrived at ReVive, our psychologist will conduct an initial home visit. This is to see the situation where the girl comes from and meet family members, who are often the aggressors themselves. She will also conduct follow up visits during the time that the girl is with us. Erika will also accompany the girls to a variety of other places including medical check-ups and hearings with the judge. As someone who spends a lot of time with the girls, Erika is a vital part of our work with the judge and the social services to determine their future.
In some cases, certain girls will receive treatment outside of ReVive with other psychologists. This is because Erika believes that these girls have very specific needs and require another space where they can talk to someone completely separate from ReVive. Sometimes this process can enable the girls to open up more about certain issues because they don’t have the same relationship with this psychologist that they have with Erika.
Finally, one of the most important parts of the role of our psychologist is to prepare the girls for the outside world. These girls will not stay at ReVive forever so part of the treatment they receive is to come to terms with and feel more at peace with what has happened to them in the past so they can move forward with restored lives and renewed hope for the future.
We are currently finalising plans to build an extension on the side of the ReVive house. Part of this will include a new room specifically designed for our psychologist Erika so she can continue to work closely with the girls in a safe space. If you are interested in helping us to reach our budget, you can donate via our campaign or email us for the ReVive bank details.
Daily life at ReVive has been extremely busy over the past couple of months, one of the highlights of course being the British Ambassador’s visit to the ReVive house at the end of February. It was a privilege to receive him along with the British Consul and other representatives from the Consulate and Embassy.
Preparations started a few days in advance, when we were very pleased to receive word that the Ambassador had personally requested that he visit ReVive on his next trip to Recife. The girls spent a lot of time preparing the house and even made some bunting with Naomi, one of our most recent volunteers! The Ambassador, Alex Ellis, arrived with British Consul Graham Tidey and immediately sat down to introduce themselves and get to know all the girls and staff.
The ReVive girls were very keen to show the Ambassador around the house and had a great time playing a few rounds of French Cricket and some parachute games in the sunshine. Afterwards it was time to settle down with some afternoon tea and cake, whilst the Ambassador spent more time talking with the girls and answering questions about life in the UK. We even convinced some of the girls to try some Yorkshire tea but even with milk, the girls weren’t very impressed!
Overall it was a lovely afternoon, the British Ambassador said that he absolutely loved visiting ReVive and it was something from different from what he is used to doing. It was a great chance to spread awareness of the work of ReVive in Olinda , and hopefully this will spark more of a relationship between ReVive and the British government in Brazil. We are already looking forward to taking part in commemorating 90 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign with the British Consulate in June so stay tuned!
Yesterday, Andy was interviewed on BBC Radio about ReVive’s work in Brazil. Andy, Rose and the family are currently back in the UK for a few weeks. If you’d like to hear the interview then you can do via this link http://bbc.in/25tPoLC Just start listening from 2 hours, 12 minutes and 12 seconds into the show!
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.
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.
By Rob Barnett
‘Good things come to those who wait’ was famously a slogan for a well-known brand of Irish stout beer.
That black beer with a white head is normally served in pint glasses, and recently the ReVive girls enjoyed something of a similar size and colour that was as sweet to them as Guinness is to many Irish people.
No, the ReVive girls were of course not allowed alcohol! Ice cream was the treat in question, albeit some of them had to wait patiently for it. And not just any ice cream, but delicious sundaes from a fancy ice cream parlour here in Olinda.
Being the last week of the school holidays, most of the girls were able to enjoy the treat: eight of them altogether, including two sisters who arrived at the house earlier in the week. (The two girls who were not around were happily staying with family members for a few days, something to be joyful about).
The trip, supervised by four members of staff and volunteers, started with a bus ride through Olinda, perhaps something some of the girls had done many times before but not a frequent occurrence while at ReVive.
We arrived at the mystery destination to find enough space to sit together in this modern boutique shop, decorated with mainly lemon yellow wallpaper and in parts with some graffiti-style images just about related to ice cream.
Being a small shop that prides itself on selling carefully-prepared ice cream and sundaes, some of the girls had to wait patiently for theirs to arrive. Most of the girls, in fact, as the sundaes, served in containers of a similar size to a pint glass, were most in demand.
The girls’ patience was impressive, particularly as the first was served her ice cream around half an hour before the last. The ReVive staff and volunteers showed admirable patience too, waiting for their ice creams!
When everyone had enjoyed their ice cream we walked along the nearby seafront back towards the ReVive house in the pleasant late-afternoon sun, stopping at the beach for some games with the ‘parachute’ provided by Sheffield-based charity Kings Volunteer.
If you haven’t seen one of these parachutes before, it’s not something you would jump out of a plane with. It’s made of similar material but with no strings attached, so children can play a variety of games around, under and on top of it.
The ReVive girls love it, particularly playing ‘Washing Machine’ where one gets wrapped up in the middle of the parachute while sitting down, and then rapidly spun out.
After these games, it was time to walk back to the ReVive house as the sun set on another beautiful day in Brazil.
A big ‘thank you’ must go to those people in the UK who generously gave Roz, my wife, and I money to treat the girls like this.
Thank you also to Becky, ReVive’s Volunteer Coordinator, who took the girls’ ice cream orders, not a straightforward task when there were so many delicious items on the menu to choose from!