Essences: Reaching Out
Programa Social Gotas
by Denise Robles
Gotas de Flor com Amor is a social program serving the street children of Brazil and their families. A strong network of volunteers offers support in countless ways, providing educational, cultural and artistic opportunities, counseling, and healthcare. The astonishing success of Gotas de Flor com Amor has attracted many impressive benefactors and has made possible the establishment of a vital center for the work in the heart of São Paulo. Flower essence therapy was the beginning seed of this social program and remains at the vibrant core of all that is done for the children, their families, and all the co-workers.
The following is a report written for the Flower Essence Society, dated July 14, 2003, from Denise Robles, Founder of Gotas de Flor con Amor. It has been translated from her native Portuguese and edited.
Progama Social Gotas de Flor Com Amor uses flower essence therapy as a centerpoint of its work—
When Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz visited Brazil in 1992, I worked as a psychologist and a flower essence therapist. I was eager to participate in their educational courses because they offered a vision of healing for the soul. Through my experience during these classes, I became inspired to take the flower essences into a larger realm of social suffering in São Paulo, Brazil.
I wanted to help the children who were exploited by their parents, forced to beg and sell on the streets of the city of São Paulo. I was outraged to see these children suffering, and I remembered what was taught in the Flower Essence Society course about the disconnection the Soul experiences when it comes to earth and cannot meet its mission. I realized these children had not chosen to be exploited as victims and to remain unloved. Only a strong program of social healing could help them remember who they were and why they had come to earth.
I knew these children needed more than food, and I proposed to the parents that flower essences could be offered on a voluntary basis to each family. God was guiding us and opening the way. I always knew that the work was not mine, but of the Father; I was just the instrument who heard His suggestion.
Our Hearts Suffered to See the Childrens' Misery
At the first meeting, 13 parents of 22 children and adolescents were present. It surprised me to see how they accepted my proposal in a very open way. We started a survey of each child's history and prepared a social register for each family. With every story, our hearts suffered a great deal. We could not imagine the level of misery in which they lived, the pain of their souls. But we learned to accept the challenges of each day and to grow in our service to them.
We became cold in the gutters and wet with rain as we accompanied the children during the night, seeing how they were exploited, excluded and mistreated on the streets of São Paulo. Furthermore, they were victimized by their parents who subjected them to the shame of having to beg. We visited the homes of the street children and saw horrifying scenes of children being tied by their feet to table legs so their parents could go to work, with their legs becoming atrophied. We found retarded children who spent the day with dogs in filthy, fetid corridors, together with sewers that leaked on the floor. It was a world that was foul-smelling, lacking in hygiene, and full of sexual promiscuity. In short, it was a dark world, full of pain, despair and exploitation.
Flower Essences Gave Hope
We started preparing flower essences for entire families. We sat on the sidewalks filling out case forms and brought these back to our consultation office. Here we prepared the flower essences and offered them in the light of healing, hope, faith and love. Soon the work took a new path, and we organized a monthly event for all the families; we celebrated birthdays of the month, sponsored sales at token prices, gave seminars for the parents and provided cultural activities for the children.
Little by little, the work grew and we founded a non-profit volunteer organization. We still operated as a street entity—our work was in the streets and in a shed we rented once a month. In 1995, we established our first house, granted by the city Department of Roads and Highways—in the Brooklin region of São Paulo. At this point our focus changed: rather than trying to remove children from the streets, we started to offer programs that were a real alternative to street life.
Building on the Children's Futures
Today we have seven buildings. We attend to 250 children and adolescents, from 5 to 19 years old, offering them daily lunch and a snack, in addition to complementary activities such as singing, drawing, martial arts (capoeira and aikido), human values, information technology, English and French languages (including correspondence with children of schools in France). On Saturdays we take on an additional 100 children, who are brothers and sisters of those involved in the core program. All the work is developed together with the families of the children. The parents participate in workshops, where their education is a target. We offer adult literacy classes, English and information technology and other night-time classes.
Our head office is owned by us, and we have three other buildings in the neighborhood. Here we have established a place for creating handmade paper arts, a doll-making workshop for the mothers, and a recreation area. Another building serves as a home for 20 children, aged 6 to 17 years old, who are without parents and who live under our responsibility. We have two new buildings that will offer care, healing and beauty treatments for the mothers and their children.
Flower Essence Therapists
We started with God's gift of the flower essences. They permeate all of our work in every location. With the flowers we are able to make not only physical changes, but create a new structure for the soul to find hope, dignity and a vision for a new way of living. We maintain a group of floral therapists, with approximately 12 professionals, under the coordination of the Farmacia HN Cristiano drugstore. We receive the support of ABREFLOR, an association of professional flower essence therapists who meet every month to exchange ideas, case studies, healing methods and study of flower essences. The volunteer therapists attend to the 250 children individually and a flower essence formula is offered every two months to the parents for home use.
Godparents: Guardian Angels of Our Children
Our effort is sustained through our Sponsorship Campaign. Anybody in the world can become a Godparent to one of our children. We suggest a donation per month of $10.00 up to $50.00. This is the monthly cost for each child. We help the Godparents accompany the development of their Godchild through the internet. Godparents are also welcome to have lunch with their Godchild when they are in Brazil.
Gratitude to All
I would like FES to know that they are among the very special flowers in the GOTAS garden. It was their vision that helped us plant the seed at the very beginning of our work. From this vision we draw the strength and stimulus to continue. Every day I thank God for their existence, for that of the volunteer therapists who serve GOTAS, for the support of all the Godparents, and for all who are helping to create flower essences. Especially, I give thanks to God the Father, who trusted me with such a compelling task. Without all of this strength and support, it would have been impossible to arrive at such a positive result.
...when you next come to Brazil, visit us, so that you may experience the progress of our work in person and see the shining eyes of each child.
Denise Robles, Founder and Vice President
Images are from the Gotas de Flor Com Amor website and newsletter.
If you liked this report, you might wish to read:
Volunteer Work with Families at Acortar Distancias
Honoring Dr. Edward Bach: a new unfolding of his work; by Jann Garitty based on a report by Rosana Vieira
Working with Flower Essence Therapy in Chile: A Report by Teresita Espinoza Woters
Working with Handicapped Students in India
Using Flower Essences in Villa el Salvador, Lima, Peru by Jann Garitty based on reports from Ellen Turgasen, Dr. Carlos Hilares and Consuelo Rios
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