News - regularly updated


January 2018.

June    2016    Contract agreed with builders.

                       Work begins.


March 2016    Outline Plans for a house + childrens centre prepared.

January 2016 Discussions opened with local builders for planned development.

October 2014 Land purchase completed.


We are negotiating the purchase of a parcel of land in Bateias, Curitiba. Plans are to build a facility for the project here.

January 2014 Amanda's 2yr Work Visa granted, a significant step towards permanent status.This requires that she undertake teaching in a language school 10 hours a week in Campo Largo. Now living in Bateias, Amanda is cultivating a new project with local children with the support of the local Lutheran church.

The first B.V. family to invite us into their home now happily re-housed in Rio Bonito.  July 2013.



Amanda continues house to house visits at B.V. and Rio Bonito (where displaced families are re-housed). One current focus is the enhanced teaching put in place for two of our children. Private tutors were hired Jan 2013 and, together with Amanda, provide one-to-one teaching of English, Portuguese and Maths. It is hoped that both children will ultimately qualify in the future for college.


          Sylvia & Richard reviewing English homework.

Bela Vista has been legalised and is currently being upgraded by way of improved roads and utilities. The disruption has resulted in a significant number of families being re-housed following demolition of their homes. Despite the differing size of each family only 2 bed houses are being provided. In some cases this results in serious overcrowding. The remaining residents will soon be liable for ground rent and utility costs but will have the chance to be given legal possession of the land over the next few years. Already there are signs of improvements being made to existing homes as a result.



We rejoice over the baptism of two children on Sunday, October 14th 2012 (in a local river). Their mum Antonia has been faithfully supporting the project for some months.





Back at the house, most of our day to day challenges involved water in one way or another. Whenever it rained (and it really knows how to rain in Curitiba) we had to navigate our way through a two foot deep muddy river which ran down the road at the threshold to the property. Once inside, many containers were needed to catch water from the leaking roof. Then there was the leaky loo to contend with but we won't go into detail about that!


Every time we have been forced to move on, we have been thrilled to discover that God has something even better for us. The new building is completely water tight with a toilet in good working order and with significantly more space than before. Some simple wooden walls have been erected to divide the open space into several rooms, giving us a designated computer room, a teaching room, an art and craft room/kitchen plus a brilliant play area in which the children can dress up, run around, play basketball and skittles or sit quietly in a carpeted area slightly set back. We are all, adults and children alike, thoroughly delighted!


Anna made the difficult decision to leave us due to on-going health issues. We thank her for everything she gave to the project and the love she has shown the children. We all miss her and pray for God's healing for her. We welcome Simone, mum to one of our children and a Christian lady with oodles of energy and much love for the children.

The House

Anna left her carers job to join us full-time. It was great fun to decorate the new premises with bright colours and create an inviting area with furniture and toys. Richard got creative by painting attractive designs on the walls and the women made a homely space with a rug, cushions and soft toys in one of the rooms. The other two rooms were furnished with tables, chairs and benches ready for small groups to enjoy.


With such a wonderful base we were excited to launch a mid-week programme of activities for the children. We hosted a series of open days inviting the parents to meet us, see what was on offer and ask questions. These were followed by a Christmas party when every child received a bucket full of small presents, all lovingly chosen and wrapped by Sylvia. It was very emotional as the children opened their gifts with delight. Most did not receive anything else that Christmas. We will always remember the little girl who kissed one of her presents when she first saw it and the careful way in which the children opened their gifts and treasured even the cards on which their names were written.

On 4th January we opened the house to 32 children three days a week for fun and games which included:

Arts and crafts

Bible stories

Learning how to get along with each other

Health and hygiene

Taking responsibility

Computer skills

Help with homework

Fruit and juice (as well as treats and sweets now and again!)


Learning to share was an early challenge for some. For others the discipline of a timetable proved difficult and inevitably a couple chose not to stick with it. For those that remained we soon began to see positive changes in attitudes and openness.


Fun days out at the weekends with small groups of children was particularly enjoyable as we could 'spoil' them and spend special time with each of them. These days have included trips to the zoo, car museum, Mac Donalds and several parks where we played games, flew kites, ate ice creams and looked at the funny capibara. (Not all on the same day though!)


Arlete, mum to three gorgeous boys that come to us, joined the team when Richard and Sylvia had to leave at the end of March. We have also been blessed by a number of visitors who've offered their time when able to, enriching the children's experience. The children love to know that adults take an interest in them and are very affectionate. We enjoyed learning new crafts from Jo, an experienced teacher from France, and had fun times with Gustav and Ana during their college break.


Richard and Sylvia made a surprise visit in May, turning up to our party dressed as clowns. It took the children several minutes to realise who was really under the silly wigs and red noses! It was very funny and afterwards the children had a wonderful time dressing up in all the costumes Richard and Sylvia had collected and brought from England. Sadly, this coincided with the news that the owners of the house wished to sell so once again we were in search of new premises.


A note about the purchase of premises

We hope to buy a property with funds generously donated for this purpose. In order to safe-guard the investment we needed to be certain about our legal position. After what turned out to be a long process of research and enquiry (it has been difficult to ascertain accurate and reliable information), we now understand that the land on which Bela Vista sits is government owned and as foreigners we are strictly prohibited from possession. The area was "invaded" by those living there due to the extent of their poverty and is now specifically designated for the Brazilian poor.


However, we were happy to learn that a process to legalise Bela Vista is already underway. This is very good news for the residents as it will bring basic services such as clean water, electricity, sewage and roads to this community. Once the process is completed we will be at liberty to purchase property or land on which to build. It's an exciting prospect but as things move slowly here we must be patient!


In the meantime, renting provides a base from which to serve the community and a safe environment in which the children can play and learn.

The Hut

In January 09 Richard and Sylvia arrived in Curitiba for three months to develop the work hands on. During this time the Helping Hands team received support from a local pastor which enabled an introduction to the community in Bela Vista. Anna, a lovely Christian lady living in a neighbouring community, joined us, freely offering her time at the weekends. 

We were delighted when one lady, Antonia, invited us into her home to provide some activities for her children and those of a neighbour. We arranged to return each weekend and took various art and craft activities and games to play with the children in front of Antonia's house. This small beginning enabled further introductions with other families. 

A few weeks later we began renting an unused wooden hut at the weekends enabling us to include more children from the community. We received support from a number of local Christians bringing their musical and sporting talents to enrich our programme of activities. Around 60 children attended these days enjoying balloon games, drawing, crafts, stories, juice and biscuits, team games and sports, singing with action songs and generally having fun together. Even Mickey Mouse visited, causing quite a stir as adults and children alike queued up for their photo with the character!

Jarim de Ordem 1  Jardim de Ordem 3

Through the fun days we got to know a number of families and distributed much needed food parcels and clothing. Everybody was sad to say goodbye to Richard and Sylvia until their next visit later in the year.

Fun weekends at the hut or nearby continued despite a number of setbacks with access to the hut. God has been faithful to us at every step of the way. Each obstacle was met with a new provision of God enabling us to demonstrate our commitment to the community and God's love for them. 

Amanda began visiting two families during the week offering maths, computer and English lessons. Relationships and trust within the community was further developed and the children soon began to open up about difficulties and traumas they face. Violence and drugs are prevalent causing parents to fear for their children and feel afraid to talk about the situation. Many families have lost loved ones to gun crime often linked to drugs in one way or another. Sadly some of our children have personally witnessed these horrific events first hand leaving mental scars.  

Due to some great clearance sales in Florida, Richard and Sylvia were able to purchase over 200 new outfits which were distributed upon their arrival in late September. 

The hut we'd been renting was required for housing for the owner's son, wife and new baby. Consequently we began a search for a new facility and discovered a small brick-built house with three little rooms, a kitchen and toilet facilities. After structural work was completed we began renting in November.



Between 2006-2008 the founding team made several visits to charitable organisations and several favelas in Curitiba to broaden their knowledge of life among the disadvantaged.  

In September 08 Amanda moved from England to live in Curitiba where she began a Portuguese language course and started work with APAV. APAV is a charity that runs a children's home for children with HIV and they kindly provided sponsorship for Amanda's voluntary work visa.