Tag Archives: children

Letters to Father Christmas

I was walking past the central post office in São Paulo with my wife yesterday when we noticed a lot of people sitting around at tables reading letters. Wondering what was going on, we went in and asked.

It turned out that every time a child in Brazil writes a letter to Santa Claus or Father Christmas and puts it in a post box, it ends up at the central post office. The staff there assign a code number to each letter and make sure the address is not visible, then they allow the general public to read the letters.

If you find a letter you like, you can fill in a form that says you will buy the gift the child requested in their letter to Santa. All you need to do is go out and buy the gift then drop it off at any post office with the code number of the child’s letter. The post office will then make sure the gift is delivered.

So a child can write to Santa and the post office will deliver exactly what the child asked for! The post office staff told us that over half of all requests are answered – which I expect means that almost all ‘reasonable’ requests from children are actually answered.

Santa letters - Correios

We went through the letters and picked out five we said we would support… of course the kids asking for a new Playstation go to the bottom of the pile. We found kids asking for a toy train and one even asked for some clothes because she had not had any new clothes since the previous Christmas. It’s quite easy to spot the kids who actually deserve to be answered and those who are just asking for yet another video game.

What a great idea and how thrilling for a kid who drops a letter in the post box to ‘Santa’ to find that the postie comes a few weeks later with exactly what they wanted – and a Happy Christmas note directly from Santa!


What is our FutureStory?

The job for life no longer exists. That’s a fact many of us have become acutely aware of as more and more industries go global. People are migrating, in search of jobs. Jobs themselves are migrating through outsourcing – being sent offshore to other countries using technology such as the Internet.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in all this, as the world moves faster and children don’t know what to study because it’s impossible to predict what type of jobs will need what type of qualifications in future. The life of a graduate is anyway very different now. In days gone by all that effort to achieve a degree would have been rewarded with a fairly safe career in a specific industry, possibly even in the same company.

That’s all gone. Your degree will be out of date within a few years, certainly within a decade. Look at India and China. They create over 5m brand new graduates every year. How does the UK compete with that?

FutureStory is an initiative aimed at exploring these questions and connecting local people in their own region to globalisation and what it means to them. The debate around globalisation is often presented in a polarised way – economists supporting the opportunities and campaigners resisting change. FutureStory aims to explore how globalisation really affects people in their own region and how young people can prepare for a global world of work. Rather than stating whether it is right or wrong, the pragmatic view is that globalisation just is. It’s like the sun rising each morning. It just happens.

So, the FutureStory programme aims to help local businesses connect with young people and their teachers to explore where the future jobs are going to come from. It not only allows students the opportunity to explore globalisation with practitioners, but also allows those companies to wake up and explore how globalisation affects the community where they do business.

The question we all need to be asking is, what can I do to succeed in a future knowledge economy? Take a look at the newly-launched FutureStory website here for more information.
Lucy Parker with Tim Smith, Jonny McGuigan, and Mark Churchill from Prudhoe Community High School