During the first quarter of 2003, KLM AirCares, the charity program of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, will be supporting the Brazilian educational organisation Esperanza, which runs two schools for local street children and has plans to build a third. During the first three months of the new year, KLM will run a broad media appeal among passengers and staff to donate money and Flying Dutchman miles to this great cause.
At the two schools in S„o Domingo do Prata and Salto da Divisa, around 300 children from poor Brazilian families take lessons and are taught skills by Dominican sisters, offering them the chance of a better future. The kids learn languages and arithmetic, but also take courses in animal care, gardening, handwork and embroidery. Esperanza also offers some students a chance to pursue their studies at a university level.
Although this is a small-scale project, it has great impact on the surrounding community. The Esperanza kids present a role model for other street children, who also become aware of the possibilities of a better future and greater independence.
Esperanza was initiated by former KLM station manager Henri Torchy, who has inspired many other KLM employees to work on the project as volunteers. By choosing Esperanza as an AirCares focus project, KLM hopes to attract extra funds so that more children may benefit from this excellent approach. Esperanza hopes to open a third school in the Belo Horizonte slum area in the near future.