For several years Brillantmont International School has been working in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. Every year students do year-long fundraising activities and thanks to the generosity of our school community (who have enjoyed many bake sales, tombolas, pizza evenings and more) over CHF.4000 was raised. The highlight of the club however, is the building trip which sees students head to exotic desinations like Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia but also closer to home. This year students returned to Portugal, a country to where BM students have been several times in the past. Too often, we associate poverty with developing countries, yet, it is prevalent in the just around the corner, as our students saw.
They headed to Braga in Northern Portugal, where they helped build a house for the Alves family. Sakura and Sofia explain; "After arriving at the site we were lead by Joaquim Alves to see the place were he is currently living. He showed us to a garage, where he lives with his wife and his 19 year old daughter. The space was really crowded, and he showed us all the pills he has to take because of his kidney problems. After seeing his current living conditions we got the motivation we needed to continue with our hard work to give Joaquim his dream house. "
Mario, Ilya and Mateus continue, "before going to work after lunch on Tuesday we visited a house that had previously been build by Habitat for Humanity. It was inspiring to see how a dilapidated house turned into a quality living environment with the help of volunteers. We got to learn the story of the woman who owned the house, who had a very difficult life due to her husband being arrested and she had to take care of the kids. The look on her face made us realize not to take anything for granted and appreciate every little thing. She had kept parts of the old house to remind her of her progress in her life. This motivated us to work with a purpose in mind and we remembered that our help is essential."
Aside from the building work, which clearly is a concrete way of helping others, Habitat for Humanity has a powerful emotional impact on students. Lisa and Rebeca add, " Joaquim (who will live in our house), told us about the importance of being brave and remaining true to our beliefs no matter the obstacles that life might bring and to always, always be brave."
Mario, Ilya and Mateus sum things up suitably, "Why not give some help, since after all, what goes around comes around?"