20,000 people are homeless in Sao Paulo so APOIO have now established 40 welcome centres which help 4,500 people a month. On Monday morning we went to visit a welcome centre called Boracéa. 1000 people use Boracéa every day. It provides accommodation for hundreds of homeless people, but also has a day centre, library, community garden, laundry, arts room and an industrial-size kitchen that offers 2,000 meals a day. First we helped out at Boracéa by doing the laundry. Then we went to the craft room where we chatted to some of the people who use Boracéa and tried to help them make some Christmas decorations! Not many people know this about me but I am the official world champion of soap operas. I first entered the competitions when I was aged 18 and I needed money to fund my gap year to Africa. I have won 2 competitions so far; Soap Genius 2003 (where I won £5000) and No1 Soap fan (which was itv1 and had 3.5 million viewers) so it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of a soap fan. When I was in the craft room, painting some trees, I actually met a former Brazilian Soap star called Anita. That is why my face looks so shocked in one of the pictures. Anita, who used a wheelchair, used to be a soap opera until her character was killed off by being thrown in a pool.
For the rest of our time at Boracéa, we looked around at the different facilities including the kitchens and bedrooms. After visiting Boracéa, we went to visit APOIO’s headquarters where we had a meeting with most of the APOIO staff for the rest of the day and got to know them better!