The Pixote Literacy Fund


Founded in 2003 by Stephen Murphy and his family and friends, the Pixote Literacy Fund is named for pixote [or “little one” (pronounced pee-sho-tee), as depicted in Hector Babenco's film depicting the life, dangers and difficulties facing street children in São Paulo, Brazil. Pixotes across the Americas face many unique challenges and are often unable to attend school. If they do, they return home seeking help from parents who likely cannot read and are preoccupied with survival, making it difficult to acquire the basic literacy and life skills needed to end the cycle of poverty.  Since 2004, the Pixote Literacy Fund has supported 19 projects in 8 countries through grants totalling more than $68,000.  See below for a selection of projects supported by the Fund.  

What can you do?

Donate - Support this fund to increase literacy in underserved children. You can donate in three easy ways: 

  • stock donation
  • credit card
  • personal check 

** Please make all donations payable to Partners of the Americas. To ensure that your donation is correctly allocated, please clearly specify that it is for the Pixote Literacy Fund. 

A Selection of Projects Supported by the Pixote Literacy Fund

In 2012, the Fund provided seed money for projects that include:

  • The Uruguay Minnesota Partners, in collaboration with the Merrill Lynch Volunteer Corps, improved the children’s library of Providence located in Montevideo, Uruguay. The library is located in a low income neighborhood and is frequently visited by parents and children. The library was in need of age-appropriate reading books both with educational and recreational content.  Both the Uruguay Minnesota Partners and the Merril Lynch Volunteer Corps united to improve the library to make a difference by creating a motivational learning environment for children and youth.

In 2011 the Fund provided seed money for projects that include:

  • In Rovira, Tolima, Colombia the Santa Gertrudis Center implemented a project to serve children displaced by violence.  Even though they were attending municipal schools, they had low reading and writing scores. Children and their parents were invited to participate in the after school program. The Santa Gertrudis community center was able to hire a teacher and a computer training teacher and the center also bought two computers and a printer which supported both the teaching as well as the learning process.  The center offered the children the opportunity to get support from the teacher to improve their reading and writing skills but also to improve their mathematic concepts.

In 2008 the Fund provided seed money for projects that include:

  • In San Miguel Parish, Nicaragua, the Community of Catholic Business Entrepreneurs attends 150 children at the “Los Martinez’ school daily. The library holds over 500 volumes, most donated by the Nicaragua-Wisconsin Partnership.  The Pixote Literacy Fund supported a literacy training to a group of youth every week.  The teacher reported that children attending the library and reading sessions have improved greatly in their homework delivering and presentation.

In 2006 the Fund provided seed money for projects that include: 

  • In Sonsonate, El Salvador, a project in conjunction with Alfalit El Salvador to work with illiterate youth from low income families that have been excluded from the formal education system; 
  • In Belmopan, Belize, a project with the Belmopan Baptist High School and 4-H to assist drop-out-risk youth with reading, writing, and overall learning to help build their self-esteem, toward the goal of keeping them in school.  The project aims to engage families and communities in the learning process; 
  • In Medellin, Colombia, a project with Fundación Restaurando a Colombia to strengthen basic reading, writing and math skills, while simultaneously building values and employability skills, for 30 youth in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. 

In 2005 the Fund provided seed money for projects that include: 

  • In Tolima, Colombia, a project in collaboration with a local parroquia to provide over 100 children with personal support to help them with reading and other schoolwork while at the same time providing them with lunch to improve their nutrition.  In the first 15 days of the project alone, the program provided the children with over 1,000 lunches; 
  • In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, a project worked with the Lar da Criançia nursery school and the Irmãs Franciscanas da Penitência e Caridade Cristã to bring volunteers and attention to at-risk children that leave the school when they turn six years old.  Project in the news [Description: Link Icon] . 

In 2004 the Fund provided seed money for projects that include: 

  • In Espirito Santo, Brazil, a project to combat victims of coffee plantation child labor. The project gives children, 8 to 14 years old, a chance to return to school and develop skills for a brighter future.  Originally targeting a group of 52 children, this project blossomed and has benefited over 150;  
  • In La Paz, Bolivia, a project to support the efforts of the parroquia El Salvador of Alto Tejar to strengthen literacy and employment skills for at-risk youth in a detention center prior to returning to the streets.  The project has successfully provided literacy and working skills that will help the youth gain employment in areas such as handcraft production and breadmaking; 
  • In Minas Gerais, Brazil, a project to give at-risk pre-teens, who live in the streets, an opportunity to better their lives by raising their literacy levels and helping them develop specific skills to ensure their rights to social inclusion and human dignity.