By Sarah Coursey, Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO – For newcomers in Brazil, culture shock can be a hazy, dazy experience in which the usual signs that guide social interaction are stipped away. The International Club of Rio understands this conundrum of adjustment, and has created a cozy and thoughtful organization that not only acclimates people to the marvelous city but in doing so helps local charities.
The International Club of Rio (InC Rio) is an NGO registered under Brazilian law which unites the members of Rio’s English-speaking community. It provides opportunities to support local development projects and service to the less fortunate of the city while aiding members who wish to engage in volunteer work. The Gringo Times had the pleasure of speaking with the group’s current president, Katharina Germershausen, who offered a closer look into the inner workings of InC Rio.
Katharina hails from Germany and has been happily living in Rio for three years. She understands that many can get home-sick and it is important to provide an outlet for expression of one’s roots. In this spirit, InC Rio will hold a Christmas Bazaar on December 4 at the Sheraton on Avenida Niemeyer in which members have made traditional jams, jellies and holiday ornaments which will be on sale as part of a fund-raising fair. The genius of creating new memories of homelands left behind, in the form of seasonal cookery and crafts, gets a spin when combined with charity. This is truly the spirit of the Inc Rio, to aide ex-pats in feeling more at home in a foreign country while helping those in need.
Various events such as the Christmas Bazaar raise money for charities earmarked in the first quarter of the year. A sub-group of the organization called the Community Development Committee oversees a current total of seventeen projects, which include kindergardens, a music school and a nursing home,just to name a few. Priority is given to projects which target education, healthcare and the environment.
An important policy of the InC Rio is to stay in touch with the charities they help by donating goods in lieu of money. They are then able to monitor how donations are being used, if they are being cared for properly, and in this way actively contribute in the long tail of giving, which is more rewarding than writing a check.
Aside from its charitable endeavors, the InC Rio puts out an invaluable reference guide to all the essentials in Rio in the form of “Rio Riches”. The book, which is available on the organization’s website, is a guide to shopping and services, including doctors, schools, business solutions, as well as a handy English-Portuguese translation section. The latest edition is from May of this year.