ETIV Staff and NGO Association Board Members

Founder & Director – Jaci Braga

Jaci was born and raised in upstate New York to an American mother and a Brazilian father. When Jaci was eleven years old she travelled to Brazil for the first time to visit her large, extended family. While stuck in traffic in downtown Sao Paulo, a small group of children in torn up clothes ran up to the car, tapping their hands against the windows and pleading for change. Immediately, Jaci’s uncle said “NO” in a harsh voice and everyone proceeded to roll up their windows. This was Jaci’s first experience with poverty, and she was shocked that her own family could deny a few poor children some pocket change. When she asked her father how this could be, he simply stated: “The world is an unfair place for most people” and then proceeded to point out the million dollar hotels and beachfront properties in comparison to the vast stretches of shantytowns or “favelas” on the hillsides. This was indeed a defining moment; a moment when Jaci first began to realize her calling: to work towards a world that is more fair and just for more people.

Jaci earned a Bachelors degree (BA) in Psychology and worked in therapeutic foster care for a few years. She later moved to Colorado to earn a dual Masters in Social Work (MSW) and International Studies (MA). Jaci worked as a community organizer in Denver for several years, mainly focusing on social justice and human rights issues with a deep emphasis on immigrant rights. In 2010 Jaci was brought to Washington D.C. to lead the grassroots immigration campaign for two national federations. After a year and half of politics in D.C., Jaci decided that it was time to move abroad to live a simpler life. She sold her car and let go of most of her material belongings to improve her Spanish and pursue a career in International Development. Jaci first went to Nicaragua to travel, volunteer and complete her yoga teacher training certification. She later moved to Peru to accept a position managing a volunteer lead Non Governmental Organization (NGO). In February of 2015, Jaci decided to pursue her lifelong dream of moving to Brazil to finally learn Portuguese, connect with her Brazilian roots and start a new NGO someplace where the disparity and the need is quite profound. Exactly 30 years after her first trip to Brazil, Jaci founded ETIV do Brazil; which envisions a world where more people care for each other and the environment, actively creating greater equality and opportunities for all.

Jaci

Ivone Lucio Eleoterio – LitClub Teacher

Ivone was born in São Paulo and graduated in Business Administration and Psychology. She worked for 17 years in the Insurance sector, followed by 4 years in Psychology. She specialized in the resocialization of young offenders and is currently working in the clinical area. Committed to volunteering, Ivone participated in the Project ‘Making My Story’ in child shelters. She also regularly visits homes for the elderly, houses of hospitality and hospitals as a storyteller.

Ivone travelled to Itacaré for the first time in 2007 and has found herself enchanted by the exuberant nature and the simple way of living. In 2015 she realized that the most significant change in her life was to move away from her family and to start a new life in Itacaré. In her spare time she likes to go hiking, enjoys the beach and meets with friends to watch movies and lectures, followed by a good chat.

Ivone is part of the group ‘Spirit Studies André Luiz‘ and works with the team of ‘Evangelization for Children’. She is a valuable member of our ETIV team and contributes her extensive professional experience to our work.

Ivone believes in the human and divine potential of each individual. She finds it incredibly enriching to offer children opportunities through literature to develop their creativity, imagination, culture and values and so to enable them to fulfil their potential.

Ivone

Veronica Coscia – Environmental and LitClub Coordinator

Veronica was born in Uruguay, but spent many years living abroad. First she moved to Spain where she graduated with a Degree in Social Work from the University Complutense Madrid. While studying she also gained her first experience as a social worker, working and volunteering in public and private social services, where she helped to improve the lives of people of different communities.

After living in Spain for a while, she decided to take some time off to pursue her second passion: Travel.

After a short stint in Sweden she continued to England, where she studied English, emerged herself in the British culture and worked in the Service sector in order to save some money for her subsequent travels through Europa and India.

Although she enjoyed her traveling adventure she felt it was time to return to her professional goals. For this reason in March 2017 she came to Itacaré in Brazil. A place that is closer to her roots and that allows her to expand her professional knowledge, while at the same time enjoying the beautiful beaches and nature that surround Itacaré.

Being part of ETIV gives her the opportunity to develop her skills and work experience while at the same time improving the life of the community, helping to promote a better living environment for all.

Veronica

Lika da Cruz & Paula Peretti  – English Program Co-Coordinators

Lika was born and raised in Denmark by a Danish mother and a Brazilian father. As a result, Brazilian culture had a significant influence in her life. She came to Brazil and Itacaré to both get to know the country better and to be a part of the local community. Furthermore she hopes to have a positive impact of the children’s motivation in learning English and making personal progress.

She is one of our two co-coordinators of the English Teaching program. She is passionate about teaching and giving the children the opportunity to develop their skills, gaining their trust and creating a dynamic learning space. She also started a hip-hop dance class for the children in Itacaré. In the first place because it is positive when children get to gain self-esteem during hobbies and sports, but even more importantly, to give them a tool to express themselves and let out emotions peacefully but strongly.

Lika finished high school the summer of 2016 in Copenhagen and has experience teaching dance and coordinating sports camps and events for kids with disabilities.

Paula is our second English Teaching Co-Coordinator and lives together with Lika close to the volunteer house. She finished high school in 2016 and is spending her first gap year volunteering for ETIV.

Lika&Paula

Gabrielle Amorim Rosa – ETIV Portuguese Teacher

Gabrielle was born in Rio de Janeiro. Daughter of humble parents, who worked as beach walkers, she learned from them early on the importance of the day-to-day struggle and conservation of the environment. Her contact with nature made her realize from the age of 11 that her destiny was to be a Biologist. However, she also became aware of the social inequalities structured in society against which she would have to fight in order to fulfil her dream. Because Gabrielle had always attended public school and received an insufficient education, Gabrielle followed an alternative educational path of preparatory courses and pre-university entrance exams. However, even when she was able to enter the Public University, her search for knowledge, personal development and social improvement never ceased. She participated in various student movements and projects such as an alternative cinema open to the community, research studies focused on the traditional knowledge of artisanal fishermen and some student exchanges. After three years traveling and researching in places such as the Cagarras Archipelago (RJ), Fernando de Noronha (PE) and Garopaba (SC), she started her master’s degree in Ilhéus (BA). However, she realized that her knowledge only benefited an intellectual elite, and discovered that it was necessary to change again. As a social action she started teaching English in the community of Itacaré (BA), and designed a community preschool in the city. Today, in order to promote social changes aimed at expanding knowledge and awareness, improving life quality and protecting the nature that sustains us, Gabrielle is part of ETIV in Brazil.

Gabrielle

Triana Hamilton – Web Developer (remote)

Triana is a web designer, developer and Information Security specialist who has experience working with a variety of programming languages, as well as computer and web technologies. Triana has been involved in this work since the age of 14. In 2004, she began building websites, supplementing her academic learning with self-driven online resources, allowing her to pursue her own personal and professional projects. She is passionate about the web and secure communications systems, which is why all of her work is created with web security and privacy in mind. Her mantra for crafting websites is finding balance between beauty, performance and usability. Triana works with artists, small to medium businesses, NGO’s and other socially responsible organizations. You can see her work at her portfolio website.

Web designer and developer Triana Hamilton

Janaina Santos Garcia – Biologist and Mangrove reforestation Expert (remote)

Janaina was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil but has spent time visiting and living in the Bairro Passagem neighborhood of Itacaré since she was just 3 years old. Janaina grew up playing in the mangroves on the banks of the River Contas here in Passagem and then later graduated with a degree in biology. Janaina dedicated her masters studies on pollution in the mangroves, with a special focus on the species of mangrove that grow here in Itacaré. Janaina joined the ETIV team in April, 2016 and she is also part of an animal protection group and a project teaching morals and values to local children. Janina believes that small deeds with great love is the best way to make our communities  happy places to live.

Janina

Rafael Sousa – English-Portuguese Translator (remote)

Rafael was born and still lives in Timóteo, a small city in the countryside of the state of Minas Gerais. He is a Mechatronic Technician, that works with IT Support. In 2011, he met a couple who lives in Argentina via the internet, that later became his close friends. He had the opportunity to visit Argentina and his friends invited him into their house. Since then, he became interested in the study of other languages. Right now, he is completing a teaching degree in Portuguese and English. Besides that, Rafael also studies Japanese. He specializes in translation, and that’s when he saw an application at the ETIV site. Upon realizing that the NGO had a great social cause, and great people, Rafael decided to help, as that was a good opportunity to improve his study, and at the same time, help a great cause.

Rafael

Catherine Nguyen – Fundraising Coordinator (remote)

Having studied International Relations as well as International Agricultural Development at UC Davis, Catherine has fostered a steady passion for both environmental conservation and community development throughout her young adulthood.  Born and raised in California, Catherine is currently working as a research specialist at an international real estate analytics company, but in her free time also tutors English as well as studies Brazilian Portuguese.  For her, ETIV do Brasil was the perfect opportunity to contribute to intersecting causes she genuinely cares about, in order to help inch towards a better world.

Catherine