We are an organisation, committed to offering opportunity to children living in poverty in Brazil. Our efforts are based on educating children, supporting families and building stronger communities. Our goal is to prevent the circumstances that lead children to the streets and help put them on a pathway of hope before they become street children.
- In a favela there is a failure of law and order, widespread corruption, drug and alcohol addiction, hardly any pleasurable family life and desperate poverty. In such a confusing world, children need guidance to help them identify the values, beliefs and morals which are important to them and on which they will lead their lives.
- We offer guidance to children based on our Christian faith, to help children develop positive aspirations, vision and faith for themselves, their family, their community and nation. Once children have hope and are able to see the potential and purpose of study, we encourage them that they have something to offer to others who perhaps do not yet have the same outlook.
- We facilitate opportunities for young people to serve their communities. We encourage them to listen to people’s needs and work out how they can help make their home ‘towns’ safe, healthy and peaceful.
In 1993 an enthusiastic pastor and social justice campaigner called Steve Chalke found his way to a small project called Universidade da Vida (University of Life), in the heart of the slums of Fortaleza, on the north-east coast of Brazil.
The project he found was run by a local Brazilian man called Marcondes Marques, and a group of dedicated Brazilians who were caring for and teaching 100 children from the slums everyday. On behalf of the Christmas Cracker Trust (which later became Oasis Trust), Steve made a video about the work of the project and showed it all over the UK to promote the needs of children living in slums and what could be done to help them.
The video raised over £25,000 and inspired many people from various parts of the country to get involved. Ever since, a growing network of people in the UK have traveled to Fortaleza, volunteered at the project, met the children being helped and returned full of ideas about how to expand and develop the services being provided.
Until 2010, this work was co-ordinated by a charity called Hand in Hand, founded by Pete Davison, David Garlick and Grant and Sue Smith. This charity was established soon after the Christmas Cracker video was made in 1994.
In 2010 UNIVIDA became a Registered Charity in England and Wales no. 1136743.
Directors and Trustees
Jon Harris lives and works in Retford, he has led several teams of volunteers to Brazil and is passionate about helping children.
Ruth Marques is the field Director of UNiViDA, overseeing the delivery of our services in Brazil and managing UNiViDA’s communications.
Martin Clements is UNIVIDA’s Chairman, he lives and works in Bristol and brings his passion for Brazil and expertise to the UNiViDA team.
Founding Member and Trustee
Marcondes Marques, has been working with children in Brazil for the last 30 years.
Anne Salway has been a friend and supporter of UNiViDA ever since her first trip to Brazil in 2008. She is UNiViDA’s office administrator and kindly donates her time to keep the office running smoothly.