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!
ReVive International is on Twitter now as well as Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, please follow us @revivebrazil for all our latest news.
Even if you’re not on Twitter, you can see our page, which we update daily, here: https://twitter.com/revivebrazil
Our Facebook page, which has over 1,000 ‘likes’, is here: https://www.facebook.com/ReviveInternational/
By Rob Barnett
During a season of Christmas parties and other festivities at ReVive International, it was important not to forget the most needy in Olinda.
Along with our primary work of looking after the girls living at the ReVive house, ReVive International also does outreach to those living on the streets of Olinda.
Every other Friday night a group of us go out in ReVive’s Combi van, offering sandwiches, coffee, clothes, conversation and prayer to the people we meet.
At Christmas we want to offer something more, like in this video from two years ago: https://vimeo.com/82837098
This time we set out late on the evening of Wednesday 30th December with 30 hot Christmas meals, prepared by ReVive’s fantastic cook Iracy on the same day she had produced a special New Year’s lunch for the girls and staff.
Having 12 volunteers that night meant we had to go in two vehicles: the Combi van and ReVive’s car. We started by praying together and with a team photo before heading out on our usual route.
Although we know likely areas to see those living on the streets, it’s important for the passengers to keep an eagle-eye out for those in other places, like dimly-lit doorways, while the driver goes at a slow pace with hazard lights on.
When we see someone or a group of people who look to be in need, we judge how many volunteers is appropriate to go to talk to them. We don’t want to overwhelm an individual with too large a group.
If they are fast asleep, we leave them food and drink. But if they are awake, we chat with them and offer prayer. Most are open to being prayed for!
It’s mainly men that we meet, but sometimes women too. That’s not forgetting the transvestite prostitutes who work on some of Olinda’s streets. They don’t normally need food or drink, but appreciate conversation and prayer.
This Christmas we met people living on the streets near the beach, by the two main roads that run through Olinda, and a group of around a dozen men living in an industrial area a little further inland.
This group always seems pleased to see us. This time one was fascinated by the blond hair and light skin of a certain Englishman, whom he couldn’t keeps his hands off! Movingly, we held hands with the men in a large circle and prayed together before moving on.
In all we handed out 26 meals during the hour or so that we were out on the streets. We trust the conversation and prayer were also valued, and that overall it offers the recipients hope and shows them something of God’s love for them.
By Rob Barnett
It’s Christmas party season at ReVive! Little over a week after the fabulous festa for the girls, staff and volunteers, on Saturday morning there was a party for the ReVive girls plus the boys and staff from My Father’s House.
This time the venue was the ReVive House, which had been thoroughly cleaned the previous day and was looking festive thanks to a beautifully-adorned tree and many decorations hanging from the ceiling.
The arrival of the food (pictured above) and drinks, notably an enormous chocolate cake, fully set the scene for a Christmas extravaganza.
The boys and staff from My Father’s House, a similar project to ReVive, also in Olinda, arrived to get the party started. Initial, understandable, stand-offishness between most of the girls and boys (think of a school disco) was ended by the giving of presents.
Each youngster was presented with a gift, which they mainly unwrapped with relish. One girl, who had perhaps not been given many presents before, needed help opening her’s: make-up, a necklace and earrings. Her joyful expression once it was unwrapped was priceless!
The food, including the delicious cake, and drink were shared around as many of the boys and girls played with their new gifts.
Then it was time for more fun! Roz, my wife, and I played a few games, using equipment from the Base Pack provided by The Kings Foundation, that the girls had previously enjoyed.
We started with Monkey Football where everyone initially stands in a circle with legs apart. The object of the game is to roll a football between someone else’s legs while they try to stop this by using their hands to block the ball. The boys quickly caught on to this and a competitive but good-natured game ensued.
Next it was time for Benchball, a game similar to netball. But rather than trying to throw the ball into a high net, one member of each team stands on a chair (or bench if you have one) and tries to catch the ball, thus gaining their team a point.
Each team had a mix of girls and boys, with a few staff members and volunteers also getting involved. Having previously played this game with the girls in late afternoons, it was hot and sweaty in the midday sun, so we kept the game short and sweet.
We finished the games with some less intensive Frisbee activities, finally trying to throw Frisbees into a hoop around 10 metres (33 feet) away. This kept some of the youngsters occupied until, sadly, it was time for the boys to go amid warm farewells.
Some of the My Father’s House staff were able to stay a bit longer before a brilliant party drew to a close. More heartfelt farewells were shared and invitations were extended to visit the boy’s house another day.