WAMS House Counsel Diane McGaha hadn’t been back to Brazil since 1974, so it was quite an adventure to return as part of a June 2007 risk assessment tour of a girls’ school sponsored by WAMS: Bahia Street (www.bahiastreet.org). The school was founded in Salvador, Bahia by University of Washington anthropology professor, Dr. Margaret Willson, after she had conducted a research study in the area. Through their mutual interest in Brazil, Diane and Margaret met several years ago and have worked together to further the mission of Bahia Street in a variety of ways. The Bahia Street trip provided an opportunity for Diane and other trip participants to visit the school, meet the students and gain a greater understanding of the challenges confronting everyone involved with this program in one of the poorest communities in the world. Despite erratic and limited funding, dysfunctional families who aren’t generally supportive of education for girls and facilities that can only be classified as “barely habitable” by American standards, the Bahia Street school is achieving remarkable results. Girls who might otherwise have no opportunity for an education, much less a professional career, are being educated through college and given a meaningful, self sufficient future. With the help of WAMS and other outside funding sources, the Bahia Street school is achieving success in educating young women that has thus far been elusive elsewhere in Brazil.
In other office news, WAMS is pleased to welcome Leona Shuler and Natalie Snyder to our staff.
Leona started at WAMS in June 2007 as an office manager/paralegal. She works primarily in the Seattle office, but helps in the Tacoma office when needed. Natalie joined us in October 2007 as a case administrator/paralegal in the Seattle office.