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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Hoping to ensure that the children of Rio’s Caranguejo favela community enjoy a merry Christmas this year, the Caminhos Language Centre is currently collecting gifts that will be distributed to the children during a small Christmas party which will take place on Saturday, December 19th beginning at 9AM at Solar Meninos de Luz in Copacabana.

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A group of children from Rio de Janeiro’s Caranguejo community, photo by Bel Casson.

“The children of Caranguejo are special – they are gentle, kind and in need of affection,” Bel Casson of the Caminhos Language Centre told The Rio Times.

“Caranguejo is just one community in one of Rio’s hundreds of favelas. These children are close to us in proximity but don’t leave the favela much as their life is there. We are able to help this community this year but next year we (Caminhos) would like to help more communities in Rio.”

Toy donations can be dropped off at the Caminhos Language Centre on Farme de Amoedo 135 in Ipanema. The Caminhos Language Centre encourages that, if possible, those interested in helping purchase gifts or donate new items but all donations are welcome.

“Christmas is a time for children worldwide. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, if they are from Alaska or South America. Children get excited about Christmas and have an expectation that Santa will come and bring them presents,” said Casson.

“We have been blown away with the generosity of some people. We had an anonymous person who donated a large sum of money to buy presents for the children, a lady from New York who donated her son’s valuable Beanie Baby collection of toys, people who have cleared out their homes with good used toys to donate and many Caminhos students who went shopping and bought cool presents for the kids.”

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Mais Caminhos Manager Diana Nijboer and Bel Casson shopping for toys and items for the Christmas in Caranguejo event, photo courtesy of Caminhos Language Centre.

All are welcome to attend the party where the gifts will be distributed to the children. Those interested in attending can join the Caminhos team, who will meet at 8:30 AM on the 19th at Caminhos Language Centre at Farme de Amoedo 135, Ipanema, to walk to the party together.

“I think this will add a general feeling of unity for the community – showing that Solar Meninos de Luz, Caminhos Language Centre and residents of Zona Sul [South Zone] have rallied to help and collect gifts for their families.” Casson explained. “It will show that we care and that they are not alone. This will add a sparkle to their Christmas.”

Additionally, those interested in helping with food preparation for the event, which will begin at 7AM on the 19th, should contact b.casson@caminhosbrasil.com for more information.

“These children will be blown away when they see the amount of gifts we have collected for them and will give them,” concluded Casson. “They will know that Santa knows they are there and has delivered toys for them too!”

What: Christmas in Caranguejo Party
When: Saturday, December 19th, 9AM
Where: Solar Meninos de Luz, R. Saint Roman, 149 – Copacabana
Entrance: FREE. Gifts are welcome.

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