Who we are and what we do

IMG_2920My name is Patrícia Goloni Lolo and I have a 14-year-old son, Gabriel, who has a disability. In 2009, because I was unable to find a place for Gabriel to exercise and play sports, and have fun and friends at the same time, I decided to create such a place…that is how the charity VIDAS was founded.  Since then, we have been gathering children with various kinds of disabilities every Saturday to play, socialize and have fun! Our mission is to provide children and teenagers with special needs with opportunities to socialize and develop themselves. That is accomplished by giving the participants the chance to practice physical and leisure activities, as well as sports.

Not only the teenagers themselves, but also their families are involved. With VIDAS’ support, all involved are provided with opportunities to learn to come to terms with the special need and in this positive environment they can ultimately feel better about the presence of a child with special needs in the family. They can participate together in theater, music workshops, arts and crafts, yoga and other physical activities and discussion groups.

DSC01738Our project provides our volunteers – teenagers with no impairment – with the chance to know and spend time with families in which a child has a disability. Being so close to our children and seeing them in daily moments of struggle and happiness is a constant reminder of how much and how intensely life should be appreciated. Volunteering is a two-way street: when you give, you receive, and our volunteers experience that deeply. Children need nothing but time, attention and respect. Providing them with this makes such a difference in their lives, and that is why we do it with our heart and soul every Saturday.

Brazil has only recently started the process of improving accessibility and transportation aimed at limited-mobility population, such as elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with disabilities or reduced mobility. Our local community in São Paulo has facilities for the treatment and development of children with special needs and physical disabilities, but it lacks a space where these children can play, socialize, where they can just be children. This is exactly what VIDAS does.

IMG_3945So far, we have improved our 25 participants’ self-confidence, making them feel more prepared to face current and future challenges, as well as changed a part of the community`s perception of “people who are different”. Working towards a more sensitive and respectful environment for children with special needs, our aim is to expand the project and the number of participants. If you share our belief that no society can be built without respect for difference, we count on your support!