Helping children on the other side of the world

Munich, 16 Jun 2016

When Christin Swainson was searching for a cause to support, Diadema Social Centre in Brazil struck a particular chord.

The Social Centre, a program run by non-profit EBM International, provides support to hundreds of children living in Diadema in São Paulo, Brazil.

“I found it overwhelming trying to find a charity to fundraise for as there are so many good causes out there and so many people in need,” says Swainson, who is based in Macquarie Group’s Munich office.

“My dad supports the Social Centre and they do amazing work with young children so as I love children I identified with it straight away.”

Swainson travelled to Florence to compete in a half marathon event in April 2016 and fundraised in the months leading up to it, raising more than €4,600 with Macquarie Group Foundation matching.

“I ran with a few of my friends and while it was hard work training and competing in the event I kept thinking of the children and the support we were giving them. I achieved my goal of competing the race in less than two hours and it was all worth it,” Swainson says.

With a population of 600,000 and many people living in favelas throughout Diadema, most local children start life on the back-foot.

“The area is disadvantaged and drug trafficking is common. Many of the children don’t really have a chance but the Centre gives nearly 300 local kids the opportunity to learn good values and obtain structure in their life.”

Younger children are provided with meals, homework tutoring, art classes, music lessons and sporting activities and teenagers participate in life coaching, vocational training and computer classes. Donated clothes and shoes are also provided to families in the local community.

“Many children are left to themselves or live on the streets because their parents work or can’t cope with their own lives,” says Carlos Waldow, Executive Director for Latin America, EBM International.

“The Centre provides care, good food, games, training and sports programs. Sometimes it doesn’t take long before the kids who were traumatised and reserved, gain confidence and change rapidly.”

Image caption: Christin Swainson competed in a half marathon in Florence to raise money for Diadema Social Centre in Brazil.