#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.
The initiative to support Brazilian students living in Melbourne came from
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.
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
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
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