Students from a school in Brejo Santo, Brazil organized a raffle to raise money and help their professor Bruno Rafael Paiva who had not received a salary for two months. https://t.co/wJcn1j3C0E— Tracy López (@TracyDeLopez) June 19, 2018
A Brazilian substitute arts teacher who hadn’t been paid for two months received the most heartwarming gifts from his students after they became attached to the educator, who was filling in for a sick colleague.
Bruno Rafael Paiva was having issues getting the government-run Balbina Viana Arrais State School to pay him for the two months of work he had put in, so the struggling teacher was sleeping inside the school. That’s when he found out that he had to continue working for another month before he received his paycheck.
"Everything was so bleak — I felt like I was sinking with no idea of what the future may hold," he told reporters.
But just as he thought he had no more strength to carry on, his students came up with a plan.
One day, he arrived in class to see a box on his desk. Inside, there were 400 Brazilian Reais (about $100), two-thirds of his salary. The kids had all donated approximately $10 each until they had enough to gift their beloved substitute.
In the video — which has since gone viral — Paiva is visibly overcome with emotion.
According to the Brazilian news organization Midia Ninja, the students were able to raise the money by holding a raffle.
Paiva said the gesture made him feel a renewed passion for his craft.
"I felt so protected by the students I love. This day changed my life," he said. "They are the strength in the world that I want to see, and they gave me the belief I needed to continue in my work. I love teaching, it's a part of me — I didn't want to be anything else in life except from that, a teacher."
Paiva started a GoFundMe campaign for himself and his students. He shared the video on the page and said his students “are humble people."
It’s clear that Paiva has a special gift as his students went above and beyond to obtain the money to help him so he wouldn’t give up on his profession. If all teachers were like him, then maybe students everywhere would take pleasure in learning.
But then again, how can teachers remain energized when they are not even paid what they’re owed? This reality must change.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Michaela Rehle