Community is the fuel that feeds the change.

Casa de Maria - From Belo Community

We believe in the power of community and its ability to uplift their members

At From Belo, we believe that a flourishing community can provide stability and create a positive long-term change for every member. We are committed to re-invest back into the community of artisans that create our beautiful bags and accessories. We believe in Fairtrade and giving back as much as we possibly can! For this, we have partnered up with an incredible charity called Casa de Maria who looks after the homeless and people in need in one of the poorest communities in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. With the help of Casa de Maria we donated warm and healthy meals to thousands of people in this region! Every From Belo product helps donate a specific amount of meals to the community.

The Story of Casa de Maria and Dona Nilza.

Casa de Maria Founder - Brazil - Dona Nilza with the Nilza Tote

Casa de Maria is a registered charity located in Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and founded by an incredible woman, Dona Nilza (..many consider her an angel!). Dona Nilza was inspired to start Casa de Maria after witnessing people eating rubbish just to survive and decided she could not just stand by and watch. She started to cook meals and hand them out to those people in need. News of the good deeds spread quickly in the community and demand increased. Dona Nilza had to get creative and started to collect all the leftover food from Belo Horizonte’s central market and cook meals for everyone in need. A local bishop heard of Dona Nilza’s heroic work and was so impressed by her dedication, resilience and love to help others that he donated a building close to Dona Nilza’s home.  Casa de Maria was created. This building has since become the home of Casa de Maria and the heart and soul of the community.  Since 2003, Dona Nilza built a team of dedicated volunteers to help the homeless and people in need. The charity relies solely on donations and the kindness of others. They do not receive any government support and often struggle to continue their incredible work but they never give up and always try to find a way to help those people in need.

What does Casa de Maria do?

Through their work, Casa de Maria supports more than 700 people in need. They supply homeless people and people in need with food, a place to wash, help them get haircuts and provide them with a place to learn. School teachers volunteer regularly to help both children and adults gain knowledge and skills to help them find a real job and get off the streets. Casa de Maria has quickly become the backbone of the community and is trying to help break the poverty cycle by providing a safe environment for all its members. Through the work of Casa de Maria, many people have been able to improve their lives and the lives of their families. Some of our artisans have also been supported by Casa de Maria prior to working for us and managed to change their lives for the better and provide for their families.

Why did we choose Casa de Maria?

We believe in the power of community and its ability to uplift their members! Therefore, we are extremely committed to making a difference in our chosen community by investing and supporting as much as we can! Casa de Maria was the perfect cause to support because of their tremendous impact and dedication. We decided to join them and play our part in the fight to combating hunger. This incredible charity solely relies on the uncertainty of donation, therefore we wanted to provide Casa de Maria with the security of being able to regularly donate meals to those in need.

What does the future hold for Casa de Maria?

Dona Nilza dreams of extending her support to all those people who live on the streets and creating a safe house for them where they can stay for a while until they get back on their feet. We hope that as our company grows, we will be able to turn Dona Nilza’s dream into reality and support her, and those in need, as much as we can.

Thank you for taking the time to read about Casa de Maria. Dona Nilza and her team are so close to our hearts that we decided to honour them by naming some of our products after them.  Check out the Mini Nilza Tote and the Geraldo Coin Purse and read more about these amazing volunteers.
Wishing you a wonderful day.

With love,
Char and  Maria