My name is Connor Culbertson. I am a 17 year old student at Rappahannock County High School and Boy Scout of Troop 316. I am currently working on my Eagle Scout Project and am now seeking help from the community. Last year, I had the humbling experience of traveling alone on a student exchange to a city called Maceió in the northeastern part of Brazil. While there, I volunteered at an organization called the Associação Espírita, which is dedicated to spiritual and humanitarian outreach in an extremely impoverished section of the city: Sururu de Capote.
Sururu de Capote is a favela — a shanty town that is born on the outer edge of large Brazilian cities. As a result of an inability to afford proper building materials, the people there construct their homes out of items pulled from the canal that cuts through the center of the community. Running water is scarce to none and electricity is almost all harnessed illegally.
Revealed through statistics of a recent survey conducted of nearly 10 percent of the residents, an astonishing 27 percent of those questioned reported to be illiterate. This occurs primarily because many of the community children have no access to school. The public schooling system is currently crumbling under corrupt government. Students are omitted from the education system and subsequently are omitted from a hope of a future.
Sadly, 32 percent of those surveyed reported that they had no friends and 80 percent indicated that they believed no one could help them escape from their current social situation.
It is unfortunately a community where poverty dictates all. A community disconnected and mostly spiritually lost. Few churches and outreach groups exist.
When I returned from Brazil, I knew that I had to help these people in some manner. I carefully considered what I could do to provide them with needed hope, seeking God’s guidance in prayer.
I ultimately concluded to produce what I call a Livreto de Inglês, or English Booklet to inspire the people of Sururu de Capote. The booklets include basic Portuguese phrases with their English translations, as well as Bible verses in English and Portuguese that are intended to share the love and grace of God over the course of 16 pages. The booklets will give community members the opportunity to accomplish three things: improve English fluency, educate themselves on God Word, and obtain increased literacy in Portuguese.
I am currently fundraising to cover the printing costs of the booklets. I will be printing 4,000 of them to take with me to Brazil the end of July 2017. To support this mission, I am currently asking for donations. All funds raised will be applied directly to cover the printing costs. A GoFundMe page has been set up to receive the donations. To contribute, simply type the link gofundme.com/4sv4kn-brazil-missions-trip into your browser or open GoFundMe.com and search for my name or campaign under the name Brazil Missions Trip. Thank you in advance for any and all contributions and prayers!