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Sophia Zaveri foundation proves vital in Brazil

The charity set up by well known industry entrepreneur Samir Zaveri, CEO of BMI, in memory of his daughter Sophia has provided vital support for local organisations in Brazil – coinciding in some cases with usual funding sources disintegrating.

Vo Flor - one of the two orphanages that the charity supports. Photo: Sophia Zaveri foundation

"Three of these students told us they would have had to drop out without our funding"

Children living at an orphanage, financially-challenged students studying for medical degrees and residents in an old person’s care home are among the beneficiaries of the Sophia Zaveri foundation.

Speaking to The PIE, Zaveri explained that while the original plan for the significant funds raised by the charity was to build a new orphanage, local charities the foundation also supported needed more help than ever in a country ravaged by Covid.

Some of the funding raised has helped impoverished students who are awarded a merit place to study medicine but lack funds to support basic study needs.

For example, student Aline Mendonça was able to pay in instalments for a computer to help her study.

She explained this was vital, “because studying and reading big university medical textbooks in PDF on my phone was very difficult.. the cell phone discharges quickly, heats up, gets stuck, and especially you cannot highlight the PDFs and make notes, which helps a lot in the study for the exams”.

“At one orphanage we’re supporting completely all 98 students”

Three of [these students] told us they would have had to drop out but this money enabled them to get internet at home so that they could continue with the virtual classes,” Zaveri revealed.

At one local orphanage, the charity is completely supporting all its students, when other funding sources dried up, he said.

“There was a big campaign in Brazil about companies buying vaccine and PPE and donating it to doctors and nurses, so all those companies that usually donate dried up completely,” Zaveri explained.

So instead of being one of many donors helping them, at one orphanage we’re supporting completely all 98 students. We’ve ended up being a complete support for these orphanages until people start helping them again, because otherwise they would collapse.”

A video on the work of the charity at Lar Perolas de Cristo orphanage in Bahia can be seen here.

Sophia, whose passing was marked this month, was born in Brazil and grew up in both Brazil and the UK. To learn more and support the work of the Sophia Zaveri foundation, visit here.

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