AHAN Fundraising Seminars in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Instructed by Gaku Homma Sensei, Nippon Kan Kancho
September 12th-20th, 2002
Gaku Homma Sensei, Founder of Nippon Kan headquarters in Denver, Colorado was invited by Nippon Kan Rio de Janeiro Chief Instructor Luc Leoni Sensei to visit Rio de Janeiro and instruct a special fundraising seminar. The funds were raised for AHAN, the Aikido Humanitarian Active Network, Rio de Janeiro branch in Brazil. Proceeds raised at the seminar will be used to supply foods, diapers, cleaning and other supplies for the Obra do Berco orphanage in Rio de Janeiro. The money saved through the donation of these supplies will allow the orphanage to allot extra funds for building improvements and other necessary projects.
Nippon Kan Rio de Janeiro Chief Instructor Luc Leoni Sensei has been active in Rio de Janeiro and surrounding areas in forming support for AHAN Rio and the development of Aikido.
The seminar was held at the Fort Sao Joao Brazilian Army training facility located at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. At the two-day seminar, over seventy-five Aikidoists from many different organizations gathered together for the common goal of raising funds for the AHAN orphanage project. This historical event, organized by Luc Leoni Sensei was the first of it’s kind in the area.
Under the AHAN theme of “Serving our community through the practice of Aikido”, Homma Sensei instructed students in the relationship between bokken and jo movement to open hand relationships at this well attended seminar.
A representative of the Obra de Berco Orphanage, Carmen Cordeiro, was on hand at the seminar to report current conditions and needs at the orphanage and received the donations raised. Nippon Kan AHAN headquarters in Denver donated $1000.00 to the cause. Homma Sensei donated his travel expense reimbursement and instructor fees totaling about $1,500.00. With the proceeds from seminar attendants, and a donation from Luc Leoni Sensei, the total funds raised for the project totaled $4,000.00
The funds will be held by AHAN Rio de Janeiro and released on a monthly basis directly to the orphanage in the form of food and other needed supplies. It has been determined that the funds raised will be able to support a substantial monthly donation for the next seven to eight months. See accompanying table for a detail on supplies.
On the Monday following the weekend seminar we were able to visit the Obra de Berco orphanage ourselves. Located in Lagoa, the orphanage was founded by Lady Director Ana Maria Lima De Arruda, whom we had the privilege of meeting. The orphanage facility has the capacity to house about 100 children from the ages of 0-6 years of age. At the time of our visit, there were about 80 children living in residence.
We were delighted to find that the orphanage was very organized, clean and well maintained. The orphanage, supported largely by non-governmental contributions, welcomed AHAN’s support. Where in past years the orphanage was supported by up to 3000 contributors, in these days of Brazilian economic hardship, the contributor lists has dropped to under 300.
As in Nippon Kan’s AHAN orphanage support project in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the success of these operations depends on the hearts and hard work of volunteers and community support. At the Obra de Berco orphanage, there were many, many volunteers who dedicated their time and resources to the welfare of these children. There were even volunteers trained to deal with children with hearing disabilities.
We spent time touring the facility and were able to attend playtime with the children in the orphanage courtyard. The children we found here were happy, clean, well fed and attended to. These children are the lucky ones, as there are many more that are not so fortunate as to live in this facility.
We all very much appreciated the positive work that Luc Leoni Sensei and many other students and instructors in Rio de Janeiro have been able to produce with the organization of this event.
Rudy Landry, Nippon Kan Technical Instructor, accompanied Homma Sensei on this trip as his otomo and primary uke. Homma Sensei was also accompanied by AHAN headquarters President and Nippon Kan Vice President, Emily Busch, Charles Deiro Sensei, Chief Instructor for Nippon Kan Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and Debra Ragan, Nippon Kan medical staff.
Nippon Kan Vice President
More articles on the Brazil trip to come!