Caminhando is a non-governmental organization, without profit incentives, which is at the service of the public which offers educational social services for children, adolescents, and young people with intellectual, auditory, and physical disabilities.
180 people participate daily for free in our specialized activities, and since our foundation 30 years ago, we have registered and transformed the lives of over 1200 of these people with their inclusion in the job market.
In our own space of 1300 square meters of accessible space, our team of professionals- educators, psychologists, social workers, physical education, arts, music and dance teachers, and art teachers as well as office staff- makes use of their knowledge and dedicate themselves to the enhancement of these people’s lives.
Caminhando Center of Education and Social Action was founded on the 16th of december in 1989 by a group of professionals and individuals who were sensitive to the cause of helping the disabled with the objective of promoting the social inclusion of adolescents and adults with mental and physical disabilities.
To begin this mission, founders began using an old building on Manoel Caldeira Street, 122, in the Jardim Colonial, and after renovating and furnishing the building, the founder organized an event to commemorate the hard work of the families and beneficiaries of the institution.
In 1991, faced with growing demand and many young people waiting to attend, we mobilized families who worked with the Municipal Prefecture of Sao Paulo to build a new building that more adequately addressed the needs of the Caminhando community.
It was then that in the public audience and realized through the then Federal Deputy Luiza Erundina, a petition with five thousand signatures with support of different representatives of the Capela do Socorro Region was created. Caminhando presented the work that it had realized and the necessity of this support. Following this movement the Prefecture allowed for the use of the area in which we constructed two new buildings for the institution.
Since its foundation as a tool of social inclusion for young people with disabilities, the institution has created a Project of Professional Initiation with the objective of promoting, in an effective manner, inclusion in the job market.
One of the basic premises of Caminhando is the participation of student families in the institution’s life. At the same time we extend attendance to these families in the hopes of improving family relations. This aims to turn families into impactful supporters and enablers of their disabled relative’s development.
It has been more than three decades since Caminhando has built alongside society a real history of social inclusion. Guided by its values and defining itself through it’s transparent and ethical mission, along with the Spirit of Christ, the institution has gone through with its objectives and perfected its Social Education Projects.
Caminhando in the Media
Over the 30+ years of Caminhando helping disabled people, we have established ourselves in society and in the job market. This work has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of some incredible people who are willing to do their best to help those after them.
Thanks to Caminhando’s volunteers and the beautiful work of this marvelous institution many young people with disabilities have a chance to receive a good education, get good jobs, and live freely amongst non-disabled people in society.
This work has certainly not gone unnoticed, and it has already been recognized and shown in brazilian media, see below for more about our work in media.
Interview with the Founder of Caminhando on TV Câmara of São Paulo
Feature on Rede Globo’s AÇÃO Program about Caminhando
Mission, Vision, and Values
To be a non-governmental organization which can effectively socially and ethically educate its attendants and their families. With this we expect to raise them up as ethical, supportive, people guided by love for themselves and others. Caminhando aims to be an organization which makes this planet a better, more cooperative, and socially inclusive place.
The conscience of man is eternal and perfectible and Spirituality is a fundamental element in its transformation. Happiness permeates through all of our projects and works to promote our work at its Christian core. With this vision Caminhando believes that it is possible to make a friendlier world.
- Respect for Diversity
Our Charter of Values
We have almost three decades of experience and insight on the lives of disabled people.
A loving eye, full of expectations and optimism allows us to fully realize the potential of every intellectually disabled person’s development as a person.
We understand that intelligence, the combination of the latin words intus (inside) and legere (choose), is the capacity to comprehend select items. We open this concept to these young people and, without discouraging them based on their limitations, we open to them a world of possibilities. We amplify their capacity to make decisions about their lives, as well as aim to improve their education and comfort.
The path we have chosen has been one of social education with a focus on loving one another.
Step by step, grain by grain, we have built a vision of educational social work based on a Christian Spiritual basis. Without human limitations, we work to uplift spirits.
We understand that the ability to give, receive, and express love should be the biggest focus of our actions, and we encourage the most positive futures available to our attendants.
Respect for Diversity is one value of our work which propels the formation of the inherent joy present in the hearts of everybody involved in this process of social education. The participation of families and attendants, from the start, has been one of our greatest strengths. Supporters and subjects of their children’s development, families are included in our institutional actions as one of our most important partners.
When arriving at Caminhando, we welcome every attendant’s emotional needs and, in the case of an emergency of extreme poverty, they will receive the support of social assistance. Caminhando works to restore the strength and possibilities of every attendant and make possible their role as decision makers within their families.
Two sources of support cooperate to realize Caminhando’s Mission: Our volunteers as well as our staff.
Our value of Solidarity is seen in the way that we welcome attendants and families, as well as the behavior of our staff and volunteers. It is Spirituality, a value which expresses itself in our path towards Faith through structuring our volunteer and staff to work together on that path.
Financial resources for the maintenance of our program come from company donations, personal donations, fundraising events, and from the Government. In our annual budget, “hot money”, with the energy it brings, is donated by those who believe in our mission after seeing our work closely.
What inspires Caminhando to keep running? The answer is something less direct than the measurable results of our program.
It’s something that doesn’t show up on any results and isn’t a part of our official statistics.
It is something immeasurable: The effect we can have on our attendant’s spiritual view of the world.
This effect runs through our hallways and even our smallest activities.
It’s found in the smile on our attendant’s faces.
It’s found in the gratefulness of our community’s mothers.
We see it in the care shown by our volunteers.
In the dedication of our supporters.
In our collective prayers and in the weekly praise of our students. It may not be said, but its light shines in every corner of Caminhando.
It brings forth our brand of Spirituality and ensures Jesus’ Presence.
All in all, it is the open sight of God’s presence coordinated through our actions.
Maria Nanci Lima Vieira – Founding Director
São Paulo, June 18 2008.
Management from January 2021 to January 2024
- Maria Nanci Lima Vieira
- Daniel Eduardo Pedro
- Gislay Bispo dos Santos Godoy
- Lancaster Pereira da Silva
- Judeth Alves Moreira
- Pollyana Guilhermino de Pádua
- Maria Conceição Rodrigues Gonçalves
- Asclepiades Pinatti Moreira
- Osmar José Vieira
- Geraldo Magela do Carmo
- Selma Barbosa Curaça do Carmo
- Elizete de Oliveira Silva