Fundraising: Me and my charity

Brazilian film director Fernando Meirelles made his name in 2003 with City of God, a film about the rise of gangs in the slums of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s. He is a patron of the Action for Brazil's Children Trust, a UK charity that helps disadvantaged young people in Brazil.

Why did you choose the ABC Trust? I was introduced to it through Jimena Page, who is chairman and founder trustee of the charity. She approached me three years ago in Brazil and asked me if I wanted to get involved. I became a patron a year ago.

Jimena has an infectious enthusiasm for the trust. She was a tourist in Brazil some time ago and, while she was there, met some kids from the slums and decided to help them. She ended up running a small charity without realising it.

It is quite an interesting story, actually. One day former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was on tour in the country, and he could see a favela from his hotel window and wanted to know more about the lives of these people. That's how he met Jimena. They got married soon after.

What do you do to support the trust? I take part in fundraising events when I am in the UK. I was recently there for the shooting of my latest movie The Constant Gardener, with actors such as Rachel Weisz.

Do you support other charities? Yes. After shooting City of God I set up an organisation to help the actors who are young people from the slums stay in the industry because they were literally picked up on the street.

The project is called 'Nos do Cinema' (We in Cinema) and teaches them everything from acting to production.

I found a building for the school, and I have recently donated equipment including cutting machines and cameras.

Is the trust involved with 'Nos do Cinema'? Yes. It supports some of these kids by paying for their fees and is taking some of them on a tour of the UK this month to meet other young people and film organisations.

I am planning to join them in Liverpool, to take part in presentations and workshops and talk about the making of City of God.

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