Jaleska Mendes is a young tennis player from Brazil and she is living out her very own Wimbledon dream thanks to a number of generous donations and a crowdfunding campaign.
Jaleska has always shown a talent for tennis and her sporting achievements have just landed her a full scholarship at a US university. But before being accepted onto the course, she needs to improve her English and she has come to the UK to do just that.
For over a decade Jaleska has been involved in the WimBelemDon project in the city of Porto Alegrem southern Brazil. It is an initiative which encourages the inclusion of vulnerable young people through tennis and other activities. The name WimBelemDon is a combination of “Wimbledon” and “Belem Novo”, the neighbourhood in Porto Alegre where the project was founded. WimBelemDon has changed the lives of hundreds of young people over the past 15 years and now Jaleska has become an international ambassador for the organisation.
Jaleska’s stay in the UK has only been made possible thanks to a number of generous donations and without these Jaleska would never have been able to leave Brazil. Wimbledon School of English has provided a free course worth over £3000, while a Brazilian travel agency Egali Intercambio, whose headquarters are in Jaleska’s native Porto Alegre, paid for the flights and accommodation. WimBelemDon has also managed to raise over £2000 (11,000 Brazilian Reais) through crowdfunding website Kickante, which will cover Jaleska’s living expenses in the UK.
We asked Jaleska what she thought of the London and she said “My first impressions of the UK are incredible, I just love it. I can’t believe I am in Wimbledon and the school is fantastic, it’s so different to Brazil.” When we asked Jaleska what she was looking forward to seeing and doing in London, a visit to the All England Lawn Tennis was at the top of her list. No surprises there! “I want to thank all of the donors who made this trip possible and a special thank you to WimBelemDon, Egali Intercambio and Wimbledon School of English”
Here at Wimbledon School of English we think it is a real honour to be a part of this project and we think our school is the perfect choice for Jaleska. We are experts in preparing students for going on to university in English speaking countries and we are 100% committed to helping Jaleska reach her goals. We will also make sure she has plenty of opportunities to play tennis and we know she’ll be able to teach us a thing or two. We want to wish Jaleska all the best for the next three months; Wimbledon School of English will be supporting you every step of the way and you are a fantastic ambassador for both WimBelemDon and your country. Who knows, we might even see Jaleska at Rio 2016!