Summer Travel Grant 2017 Recipient
James Patrick Alonzo
Life-changing. This is the best way to describe my internship experience at Mais Caminhos, a non-profit organization based in Rio de Janeiro. One of my requirements as a Public Administration graduate student at the University of Hawaii is to do an internship, either in a government agency or a non-profit organization. Since working for an NGO was close to my heart, I did not think twice of taking this option. Also, since I have always known that Brazil has a massive dilemma of poverty, as shown in the prevalence of favelas, it proved to be a very appealing country for me to work in.
During my stay in Brazil I had the chance to fully appreciate the vision of the organization, to build a just society for the next generation of young Brazilians, by giving them the opportunity to learn and to enjoy their childhood – far from the hostile and chaotic environment that they endure in the favelas. I helped the organization on their volunteer management responsibilities, daily operations (especially on their Complementary Education Programme), and even completed some fundraising initiatives. One of the highlights of my internship was helping send six kids from the favelas to Poland, to attend the Brave Kids Festival. The youth camp aims to gather young people from all over the world who come from underprivileged backgrounds, to hone their leadership abilities. All in all, it was definitely an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life!