Rio de Janeiro - day 1

Part of the role of Youth President is an overseas trip, which led me all the way to Brazil! I arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Friday and spent a few days getting used to the heat and enjoying the beautiful city.

Today the trip really began! I visited the Central Institute of the People (ICP) which is a social project that has been running since 1906. The project is based at the base of Providence Hill where 5500 people are crammed into a brightly coloured patchwork of shanty houses. The government are investing in the area at the minute but still there is a lot of poverty. ICP, which is 50% funded by the government and 50% by the Methodist Church and a small amount of other donations, serves the community by providing baking and computer classes where people can learn skills to make them more employable, a nursery, a medical centre, a music programme (which has developed a 20 strong orchestra!) and a sports programme.


I was shown around the nursery school where 350 children aged 4 months – 4 years are cared for from 6.45am-5.15pm and receive 3 meals and a shower. This provision is a lifeline for mothers as it means that they can work. Classrooms are very basic but what really struck me were the simple, sweet decorations obviously handmade by the teachers. Individual name labels for each child’s book box have been cut out by hand and bunches of orange balloons adorn the walls.


We met with the director of the programme, Ronaldo, and Marselo, a deacon who is responsible for all the social programmes in the Rio de Janeiro district. One of the pictures shows myself and Marselo, in front of the medical centre. To our left is Igreja Metodista Centenaria Garboa (the local Methodist church) and to our right is the nursery. As Marselo said to me, a lovely picture of 3 core principles of the Methodist mission throughout history - education, health & social care, and spirituality. It was interesting to talk with Marselo and my guides, William (Youth President in Rio) and Flavia (involved in mission in World Cup) about how young people (and all people) can be inspired to engage more with social projects and see these works as a fundamental part of God’s kingdom and the expression of their faith.


In the afternoon we visited the 1st Cathedral of the Methodist Church in Brazil, a lovely building adjoining the first Methodist chapel that was built in Brazil (in 1878). We also went to a cafe where I tried Acai – a sort of soft sorbet made with a purple berry, which for some reason made me cough like mad!


  1. Thanks for posting this Hayley it's so interesting to hear about the impact Christians are having.... you don't hear about this when they do TV progs about the Government's programme to improve Providence Hill... Brill :) Keep up the good work.

  2. I'm from Brazil and I'm glad to know you're here. I really hope you're enjoying these days!

  3. Was looking up People's Central Institute, written up in United Methodist Women's old (2003) Response Magazine. They had received a grant to increase size of day care to 100 children! What a growth...Thanks for reporting. Judy Church, Modesto, CA