To ensure that the unique skills and talents of every child and young person have the special attention and educational resources needed to grow.
The Hummingbird Model
Hummingbird Brazil´s work focuses on children and adolescents’ lives in areas with great poverty and drugs, lacking in public services within health and education as well as basic urban infrastructure. These adverse conditions create many social problems for the inhabitants, where children become the losers. Far too often the youngsters end up in the streets and are often sucked into the world of drugs, crime, violence, and, in the case of young girls, prostitution. This leads to ruined lives and human tragedies.
Our partner in Brazil is the Rede Cultural Beija- Flor, referred to as Hummingbird. Through its activities in Brazil Hummingbird has developed a model to meet the challenges in dangerous urban areas.
The Hummingbird Model is set up and developed as a holistic model for working with children and youth at risk living in dangerous urban areas marked by social problems. The programme emphasises education, social training, and personal development. Arts and aesthetics are the means utilised in the approach, leaving their imprint on the children’s surroundings.
The organisation runs three activity and community centres in São Paulo, in Diadema in the greater metropolitan region of São Paulo.
- The Hummingbird Nest is the main centre, with artistic and cultural activities. A series of different activities and training projects are offered, while at the same time, the centre is able to care for and inspire the children individually.
- The hummingbird Centre in Sítio Joaninha opened in 2008. It now also houses the domestic science department (training kitchen) and a vegetable garden.
- The Hummingbird Communication Centre is a communications and media centre which opened in May 2012. It contains a sound studio, a radio studio as well as facilities for IT/digital inclusion, graphic design, photo and video productions.
Art and aesthetics
Aesthetics and artistic expression is the core value and it characterises all the project’s centres and activities. Gregory Smith, founder of the project, had the vision all along that the arts, culture and aesthetics will empower and motivate all participants in the Hummingbird project. It strengthens creativity, builds self-confidence and allows the children to believe in themselves. It has strengthened the sense of community and given the participants a broader outlook, and the belief that it is possible to change society.
Social entrepreneurship is an important part of the Hummingbird programme. Gregory Smith is himself is a social entrepreneur. Young people are trained to become social entrepreneurs through work and research in the community to find new solutions. Young leaders work together in groups. They have created social entrepreneur projects such as the Social Eye (Olhar Social), which gives children and young people the opportunity of being trained in using social media, IT and mass communication. Another project is the Nutrition project (based on the Norwegian Domestic Science School Model), which trains children, young people and adults practical insight into the importance of a balanced and healthy diet.
Education and training
Education and training is an area of focus to create more predictability and stability through improving family relationships, school performance, social solidarity and participation in the society. The offers are adapted to different age groups and their life situations.
The project has connected several partners, so that the offer today is greatly expanded and includes:
- Increased core activity within art and culture.
- Cooperation agreements with the local municipality, Diadema, on the after-school program for the local schools in the area, as well as educational support for more than 1,100 young people in the favela ("Young Apprentices"). There is a great need for this after several lost years of education during the pandemic.
- Cooperation agreement with Brazilian employee organizations such as Senai, Sebrae and Senac. In collaboration with them, Kolibri Brasil now offers free vocational training to more than 1,000 young people and adults in the favela. Very important after years of increasing unemployment in Brazil and especially in the favela areas.
- Own project arranged to strengthen girls' position, equality, educational opportunities, and facilitation for female entrepreneurs.
- Educational reinforcement is given to children with learning difficulties.
- Own nutrition project with training in healthy eating and growing vegetables.
- Own vocational training program in hairdressing and manicure (the "Ordalinos project").
- Production of music and dance performances with a background in Brazilian history and culture.
- In addition, social family counselling, socio-emotional support (psychological support) and assistance are provided to families who have lost their income.
Hummingbird - Children at Risk Foundation and its founder, Gregory John Smith, have received a number of important prizes.
- 1999: Gregory Smith became an “Ashoka Fellow”. Ashoka is an international organisation that promotes social entrepreneurship
- 2013: H.M. King Harald V awarded Gregory Smith “The Royal Norwegian Order of Merit” (Den Kongelige Norske Fortjensteorden)
- 2014: “World of Children Humanitarian Award” (WOCA) granted to the Hummingbird Network (Rede Cultural Beija-Flor); the first recipient in South America
- 2015 and 2016: Nominated “Best in Class” by leading Norwegian business magazine “Kapital”. The magazine evaluates and compares yearly the performance of the Non-Profit Organizations in Norway. The organization with the proportionally lowest fundraising cost receives the “Best in Class” price.