If you’ve been following Minas Hill you probably heard about GIMA (Intermunicipal Games for the Environment). We have supported this social project for many years now, thanks to the strong partnership we have with Labareda / Bom Jesus farms and the Oliveira family.
The first edition of the event was back in 2008. Flavia Lancha (coffee farmer) and Lucileida (teacher at public schools) wanted to create something unique to help vulnerable children living in rural areas in the Alta Mogiana region. At the time, environmental responsibility wasn’t a popular subject as it is today, and they saw an opportunity to create new perspectives to those children, providing more information on such and important issue. GIMA was founded with the objective to unite children for the common good, the Environment, through exciting games and activities. Every year, hundreds of Year 5 kids travel to Bom Jesus farm and join the competition between participating towns. The activities they perform are related to sports, the environment, culture and community. By making part of GIMA, they develop values such as friendship, respect, excellence, bravery, inspiration and equality. Prizes include push-bikes, soccer balls and school supply.
In 2019, after 12 years, GIMA has reached another level as it became a Cultural Expo focused on Sustainability and Environmental Preservation. Flavia and Lucileida were able to establish new partnerships and financing through the Government of the State of São Paulo, and Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy. The event grew to 4 days instead of 1, as new activities were incorporated: music, theater, photography workshops, story telling and seminars. In 2019, 6 towns, 2,800 children and 400 volunteers were involved in GIMA – after all the hard work, it is really rewarding as partners to watch this social project reach such expressive numbers and impact so many people.
This year, our expectations were really high as we hoped to improve the event’s infrastructure, expand partnerships and reach 4,000 children from 8 surrounding towns. It was all put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In April we have received the news: the event had to be cancelled in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. Since then, we have worked closely with the organisers to find new ways of helping these children who would otherwise join GIMA.
During this pandemic, in Australia and many other countries, we have all seen the difficulty behind home schooling. Now, if you think of Brazil’s reality, you’ll see that studying from home is simply impossible to many youngsters from poor families. The numbers are shocking: 30% of households in Brazil have no internet at home. If you break it on social classes, 50% of poor families have no internet at home against only 1% on the highest social class. As schools remain closed since March, a massive number of students have had no classes at all for more than 2 months. And no good news for the near future, as Brazil has become the new epicenter of coronavirus.
So after a lot of discussion Minas Hill and GIMA’s organisers have agreed the best way of helping this year is by providing tablets and pre-paid internet to children who would otherwise join the activities at GIMA. We have partnered with a local technology supplier to find the best solution in the market and reach the greater number of students. We found an option that costs AUD $ 140/unit.
Now it is time to fund raise for GIMA. Australian roasters have been so generous and we hope this year we can beat last year’s donations and really make a change on those children’s lives. Living though a pandemic has increased the sense of community and strengthen so many partnerships. We’ve seen we all need each other and together we can do more. We know this edition will change GIMA and leave a legacy, and we hope you can be part of it.