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Manoel - Brazil

In the face of COVID-19, Manoel and the Brazilian community in Melbourne have come together to provide food and other essentials to international students.

Manoel_Brazil_200 Feiajoada Meals

#InThisTogether with Manoel and the Brazilian Community in Melbourne

In the face of COVID-19, Manoel and the Brazilian community in Melbourne have come together to provide food and other essentials to international students.

I'm Manoel Felipe Martins Marques, a Brazilian journalist, and I present an online interview program called InterAction . I'm from Cruzeiro, a city located in the state of São Paulo. It's an incredible place, with lots of nature, waterfalls and mountains on all sides.

I would like young people around the world to show leadership at this time to support people … showing solidarity and love for others,

I have been living in Australia for over a year after deciding to come here to study English. I wanted to experience life in one of the most developed countries in the world and in a city, that is often considered to be the most liveable in the world, Melbourne.

What are the Comunidade Brasileira em Melbourne doing during this time?

The initiative to support Brazilian students living in Melbourne came from the Comunidade Brasileira em Melbourne's creator, Pryscilla Ferreira, and soon grew with more volunteers who arrived to help. We have already helped around 700 students from all around the world and have donated more than four tonnes of food. Many students are forced to make a choice between paying their rent or paying for food and we are 100 per cent committed to improving the welfare of these people.

Manoel Felipe and Pryscilla Ferreira In addition to food, we also donate warm clothes, personal hygiene products, electric heaters, blankets, fruits and vegetables. We have also donated bicycles so that students can work in the delivery industry, giving them the opportunity to make money.

Organising food donations and delivery

We are receiving donations from many people, both Brazilian and Australian. During the week our volunteers go to these peoples' homes to collect the donations. Some people prefer to donate money, so we buy the food we need. We now also have the support of the church, which has provided us with an excellent space to work. Instead of delivering bags of food, we set up something like a supermarket.

Donations are posted in our group on Facebook , and people in need should register online.

Both in organising the donations and delivering them to students, everyone on the team respects social distancing measures and wears gloves and masks to protect everyone's health.

Looking to the future

Our group seeks to offer students support and comfort in this difficult time. We want everyone to stay strong, and we want students to take care of their health. It's important that everyone respects the rules of isolation and, if they need to work, they maintain all the necessary hygiene to stay healthy.

Manoel_Brazil_May 193 This whole situation of the coronavirus has forced many changes in the world. We all need to adapt to the new world and its standards. We need to be strong and for those who live far from their family, this is even more difficult.

I'm sure that all this will soon pass and I advise you not to give up on your dreams - instead we all must readjust our plans and stay focused on our goals. Try to stay busy and productive wherever you are so that when everything goes back to normal, your plans are moving forward.

I would like young people around the world to become leaders to support people who are in at-risk groups, showing solidarity and love for others. To the Brazilians, and all international students in Melbourne, we are here to help you.

Donations can be accepted at St. Brigid's Parish, 378 Nicholson St Fitzroy North VIC. Students in need or anyone who wants to help by donating food can contact Pryscilla Ferreira on 0417 645 334.

*This interview has been edited for clarity

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