INNER WHEEL CHILDRENS CHARITY
In March 1997, with the opening of the International School of Madeira, Children’s Charity took root.
The first project was "Pão por Deus"
An old Madeiran custom was adapted to present day life. Many years ago, at the end of October, the children of Madeira, equipped with little bags, used to go knocking at doors and saying, “Pão por Deus” (Bread for God), and people would give them bread, nuts and fruit. Now a days we do not to let children go knocking at doors, so we adapted the idea and invited all the Children of the International School to bring along their little bags from home, filled with all the traditional bread, nuts and fruit, as well as their favourite sweets and biscuits.
A member of the community was invited to come and speak to the children of the International School and make them aware of the lives and difficulties of orphan and under-privileged children. The first person to do so was Father Rafael, a well-known priest in Funchal. Three or four typical songs were sung in both Portuguese (Castanhas – chestnuts) and English (related to Halloween) before the talk. Since the idea was for our children to share what they had in their little bags, they were then invited to come up to the box and put into it whatever they wanted to give to the poor children. The generosity of children has always been amazing and amusing. The box would then be taken to an orphanage, by the member of the community who had spoken to the children.
This little project has taken place every year since its initiation.
The second project we named “Toys for Joy”.
Towards the end of November the parents of the International School receive a letter asking them to encourage their children to sort out their toys and decide which toys they wanted to give to the poor children. Once again, the generosity is over-whelming. Year after year, my office floor become covered and piled high with toys, books, videos and games.
On the day of our Christmas Carols Concert each child takes a bag of toys up to the altar steps and again someone invited from the community gives a short talk, hoping to instill in our children an awareness of the needs of other less-privileged children who would not be receiving Christmas presents from their parents.
Project number three: Easter Eggs
We have been told that money received at orphanages is used for necessities and not for luxuries, such as birthday presents, Easter eggs or Christmas presents. So again, each child at the International School of Madeira brings an Easter egg for a poor child. These are then delivered to one of about six orphanages on the island or to the Santa Clara Convent where they are distributed by the nuns to the poorest of the poor.
Our fourt project of the year is "The Big Walk"
To celebrate the anniversary of the International School of Madeira, we have a sponsored walk around Santa Catarina Park, usually on the Friday at the start of the mid-term break during the summer term. Each child is sponsored for the number of laps he does around the park. There is of course, strict control every inch of the way. Some years we have not actually raised funds but have simply counted the laps towards our sports day marks. One year we worked with the co-operation of the Rotary Club of Woodbridge, England and the Funchal Rotary Club to raise funds for the Madeira flood victims. Many past pupils still pop in to support the BIG WALK.
Whenever there has been a need the children of the International School of Madeira continue the “Big Walk” which is our only fund raiser to help sad and rejected children.