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Chinese Day care center in São Paulo's historical center?

24 years ago, when he arrived in Brazil, the young Chinese Lucas Xiao, had only one certainty in his life: - He would be a priest.

In 2006, already ordained priest, he met the matriarch of the Sieh family, Mrs. Maria. It was after a mass, that Mrs. Maria, approached Father Lucas, accompanied by one of her daughters and asked: - "Father, what is your dream?" At that moment he didn't know what to answer, but that question stayed in his heart and changed his life.

"That day she looked at me and said that from that moment on I would receive financial help every month, and this is still done today, even after her death. What always impressed me about Mrs. Maria was her desire to help those who needed it most, and especially her humility. Whenever I thanked her, she would shut me up saying that it was only to thank God!"

When Father Lucas looks back, he realizes that his dream came about when he met Maria Sieh. Following the suggestion of Bishop Cláudio Hummes that Chinese priests should leave the churches to evangelize the people on the streets of the historic center, Father Lucas came into contact with people in need and realized that daycare centers were lacking in the central region of São Paulo, where many immigrant families work for many hours every day.

And so, five years ago, his dream of, through education, taking in the children of these families who had nowhere to stay became a reality. That was when the Beneficent Association of Education Brazil and China (ABEBC) was born.

Today, the entity manages five Child Education Centers (CEI), which serve more than 900 children, in different neighborhoods of São Paulo. These Centers were created through an agreement signed with the São Paulo City Hall, which operates as follows:

Father Lucas is also vice-rector of the São Bento College, a traditional educational institution in São Paulo, which belongs to the Benedictines and almost closed its doors a few years ago due to a lack of students. At Father Lucas' suggestion, a Mandarin course was created at the school, where today more than half of the 330 students are Chinese.

The day care centers attend children from 0 to 3 years old, and the cultural diversity is immense. They are Haitian, Chinese, Brazilian, Venezuelan. Many live on the streets with their parents who, in some cases, are drug addicts.

The assistance is also extended to the families, with the donation of food baskets, and with help in issuing documents, and other issues that arise due to different nationalities and languages.

Despite the difficulties, the work with the children is already bearing good fruit: - It is visible that they like to be at the daycare! Many refuse to leave at the end of the day, when their parents pick them up. And several families have expressed their gratitude and joy at having a safe environment to leave their children while they work.

Thinking about the memory of Mrs. Maria Sieh, Father Lucas believes that she would be happy to see the results of this project, because she was always very concerned about the most needy! But when we ask if he has already reached his goal, the answer is immediate:

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