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UK Charity 1091792

The Wednesday Club - URGENT APPEAL!!

(Scroll down for more information on IBCM who run the club)

Early on Wednesday mornings (they can't afford to do it every Wednesday - but most), a buss travels around the city of Salvador picking up street kids to go to the Wednesday Club. The kids call it "The Happy Buss" - and by the time it reaches it's destination it is packed full of children looking forward to a day of fun, play, good food, a shower, medical care, safety & love. For one day they can relax and be children, play, get taken care of, and when they leave they will be clutching a "Happy Bag" of food "for tomorrow".

Each Wednesday Club costs around £500 and this includes the rent of the bus and fuel, some staff costs (there are plenty of volunteers too!), lots of food (and happy bags), medical supplies and some drugs costs (sometimes local medical students help for free too), Hygiene materials, some educational materials and a few other bits. Often there are up to 80 kids and some mothers and their children from very poor families.

COB paid for all four Wednesday clubs in December 08 and have paid for two in January - we hope to do much more - please support this amazing project and help us to keep the "Happy Bus" rolling!!

"We can play and have fun and have good food. I wish it was every day!"

Usual Wednesday Club Schedule

Often held in a public park or any available large area

8:00 - Gathering children from the streets by coach.
8:30 - 9:00h Breakfast
9:00 - 10:00h - Play outdoors
10:00 - 12:00h - Workshops of wisdom (Hygiene, Safety, Health etc.)
11:00 - 12:00 - Lunch
12:30 - 14:00h - Rest
14:00 - 15:00h - Songs and play
15:00 - 15:30h - Supper
15:30 - 16:00h - Hygiene and good-bye
16:00 - Buss leaves back


Project Director (unpaid!) Donna Conceicao says: "There are more than 200 willing to come but we cannot afford it. If there were other NGO's doing the same, we could split and cater for all of them, but for now it is just us doing this work."


The below is extracts from an interview with Donna Conceiaco done as part of our project appraisal process:

DC: "I know the city well, every spot. Our focus is not just donating food and clothes - we do donate them - but providing health. Without health there is nothing left, isn't it? The majority is HIV infected, on this Wednesday we check up their health, provide medicine and send to the hospital. I already know about these ones over here, what is going on with their heath. We start taking care of their health till next Wednesday. Sometimes for longer than that, depending on the situation.

DC: "We know they will get some food here and there. People will sometimes feed them, but none will take them to the hospital, wait there, provide a doctor, medicine, prescription, find a sponsor, sell things or even take from my own pension. The reason I do this is because someone must. We do not know of someone else doing it. Projeto Axé (another NGO in Salvador) is great, but it is art, playful related. Health wise, I do not know… so far only me. My team, I mean. We go everywhere"

Important note from the COB trustees
It may seem almost criminal to return these children to where they sleep on the streets after the Wednesday Club - there are simply not enough funds at the moment to do more and there is nowhere else who will take these children in.

This is our main aim this year - to provide more support and opportunities to IBCM to firstly run the buss and the club more frequently. Secondly to try and get somewhere to become a shelter for these children (with associated advice and services to help them on a more permanent basis) and thirdly to start opening small houses with up to 10 children (and "house parents") in each to become a more permanent home with proper education and the like.

It is a heart breakingly sad fact that many of these children already have HIV/AIDS, we need to act as quickly as we can to give them as good a home as possible and the best chance of the medical care they need. A home and the right care can mean a long and happy life, without it the risk of developing secondary infection is very great, even before the other problems associated with living on the streets.

It would cost a lot of money to do everything we would dearly love to do for this project, open a child refuge centre, increase the outreach program, improve the medical care, open up to 10 small homes for up to 100 children in total. Whilst this sort of money is a pipe dream at the moment we just have to do what we can. £500 pays for a Wednesday club, around £6 pays for a child to attend one Wednesday club. We just have to approach this one day at a time, one child at a time, and hope and pray that we can rally enough support to do more.

This really is an URGENT APPEAL - please help us to help these children - please give what you can - every penny will get there!! Any ideas - any help - please do contact us!

IBCM (Instituto Benficiente Concição Macedo )

IBCM have been working in Salvador for 18 years and they focus on preventive work and aid to impoverished people. Many who live with HIV/AIDS. IBCM currently carry out the following work, but hope with our support to help many more people:

  • Aid to 15 families with HIV/AIDS that used to live on the streets and are now on houses rented and totally maintained by the institution. The funds to pay the rents are provided by family members, friends and and sponsors. Without these houses the families would be living on the streets.

  • Aid to 40 children, ageing from 2 to 6 years who have HIV/AIDS. Residential and drop in nursery which provides individual treatment plans, medical care as well as education & fun!.

  • Weekly club with up to 80 street children, including breakfast, lunch, educational activities, social assistance and medical checking (see The Wednesday Club)

Project Director (unpaid!) Donna Conceicao says: "The vast majority of street children and teenagers run away from their homes due to mistreatment. This is why is pointless to send them back to their families straight away, but we need somewhere to host them overnight. In order to know them better we want to open a place where they can feel safe and at ease.

To win their trust we try to answer their immediate needs, to offer them a place where they can look after themselves, take a shower and do their laundry, have something to eat and importantly talk to adults who counsel them as friends.

We have started the work with the Wednesday club - but it would be better to have a place where the children can come at any time to get access to basic hygiene, nutrition, medical care and education, allowing them to build up a positive image of themselves and acting increasingly with independence and confidence in their capacities. A positive place where drugs and violence are not allowed, a place for the ones who wish to get off a life on the streets."

Children of Bahia are currently helping to fund as many Wednesday clubs as we can and aim to provide greater support to the amazing work of IBCM over the coming months and years.

The more funds we can raise the more children we can support.

Please help if you can!

© 2005 Children of Bahia