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The Banking Blocker

The search for a bank continues! One of the final pieces of the puzzle to get started in carrying out our mission to support the work of Projetos Sociais Estação Vida is proving to be the hardest to sort out. Months ago we thought it would be US Bank that would provide an account at an affordable rate, until it turned out that the nearest branch office is located in Ohio (we're in New Jersey!). Magyar Bank was another option that looked good, as a small local community bank, but they mysteriously declined to work with us with no further explanation. Hopefully this matter will be resolved soon and we can start raising funds. The community center in Uberlândia has reopened to a certain extent, with safety precautions in place. Below is a video from a recent visit made by representatives of a law office to help celebrate Children's Day. Brazilian Children's Day is October 12, so this commemoration was a little early, and surely welcomed by the kids.

About

Uberlândia, a city of  over 680,000 in southeastern Brazil, is the fourth largest city of the interior region of the country. It boasts an extensive public bus system, a federal university, and numerous private schools of various levels. Located in an agricultural region, the municipality brings together an urban and rural mindset.

Among its many neighborhoods you will find one called Shopping Park, and under-resourced community of around 40,000 that has been in formation since the 1980s. For many years it was essentially off the grid, lacking water, sanitation, electricity, and asphalt. The first residents had to make the long trek downtown — without public transport — to obtain basic services, such as banking and shopping. 

Matters have improved somewhat in recent years, with basic services and public transport reaching it. In 2010 the city hall declared this neighborhood of special social interest, enrolling it in a federal housing program and further increasing the population. Nothing has come easily for the community, with even the initial construction of the municipal public school building in the neighborhood being built by 20 residents, in 2000. Home to many hardworking people, the steep economic gap prevalent throughout various parts of Brazil is in evidence here. 

Seeing the lack of childcare options and many vital social services, in 2004 a group of people formed to do something to change this reality. The Centro de Formação Comunitário São Francisco de Assis, a community center more commonly known as 'Estação Vida,' was brought into existence. Providing a safe place for over 150 children before and after school, as well as healthy meals, educational opportunities, games, sports, music, and basic computing. Estação Vida reaches over 200 youth with programming that brings in more children for martial arts and other events. 

In May 2020, seeing the good work of Estação Vida and wanting to raise its profile and provide a secure, tax-exempt means for people in the United States and elsewhere to help out financially, Uberlândia Development Initiatives (UDI Brazil) was organized. 501(c)3 tax exempt status was granted in December 2020, and in early 2021 we plan to begin receiving donations on behalf of the community center.

UDI Brazil is a separate support organization for Estação Vida, in a partnership to bring opportunities for physical, social, academic, and emotional growth to the young people of the Shopping Park neighborhood, providing them and their families some of the means to thrive. We uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our standard and vision for a better world.

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