I was having a discussion with a person who has created a tourism collective here in Rocinha. We were discussing the benefits of tourism and what impact it can make on our community. I mentioned to him about the various foreigners who have made donations through our tours and he reacted in a way that was surprising. He seemed to devalue the idea of donations and instead thinking of only money. This upset me because I see value in ANYTHING that can help our community. Money is nice but its not everything. I have always advised people who visit poor communities to bring donations instead of giving money. Especially when it comes to organizations. Unfortunately many organizations worldwide are corrupt.
Fast forward, I receive an email from this man from the US saying he wants to stay in the favela, volunteer and also bring school supplies for some of the projects here. Of course I help him as much as I can by referring him to place a post on my facebook page "Estrangeiros na Rocinha". He puts up his post on facebook and Barbara Olivi who runs several great projects here for kids responded and wrote a nice letter with a power point presentation explaining the needs of her projects. School and arts supplies are the biggest things here for recreational activities for the children in Rocinha. I think any donations to projects here is of value and appreciated by the community.
So, Duke Tackie, from the US, contacted me and said he was arriving the end of May to stay in Rocinha for a few weeks. He wanted to volunteer but was on restricted time. Also during the World Cup many projects are closed. Duke was able to organize through Office Depot a 200$ discount on any school/art supplies that he wanted to buy.
The store manager Mr. Kolby at the Office Depot Store in Gaithersburg, Maryland was the one that signed off on the big discount and Jean Max helped to facilitate the purchase of these supplies. Jean Max helped Duke to pick out the best and most budget friendly school supplies so as to get as many pencils, pens, crayons etc that he could. The favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro wants to thank Office Depot, Mr. Kolby, Jean Max and Duke for making this happen. Some of the supplies have been already distributed to Barbara Olivi's projects. I will deliver the supplies that I received after all the commotion from the World Cup is over.