Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

The Mitzvah Diaries: Poetry and Social Media Edition [VIDEO]

Woman uses Facebook to help homeless poet Raimundo Sobrinho find an audience, and his family

By: Zak Edwards

Published: February 25th, 2014 in News » World

Welcome to Mitzvah Diaries, where we at Shalom Life scour the depths of the web to identify those in our community who are committed to one of the oldest notions in Jewish tradition: the mitzvah.

In an age where stories shared through the media often focus on the negative, on the cruel, criminal and chaotic, Mitzvah Diaries will highlight Jews and non-Jews alike who go that extra mile to perform good deeds, and good acts, to help out friends and strangers, subsequently strengthening the fabric of our society.

A mitzvah doesn’t doesn’t have to be life-changing or monumental; it can be a small act of kindness that simply reaffirms, despite our busy schedules and hedonistic lifestyles, that humanity still exists, and selfless deeds are not as rare as you’d think they are.

For the past three decades, Raimundo Arruda Sobrinho’s poetry was only seen by a few charitable individuals. He would sit at the same street corner everyday, writing and begging for money and became a bit of a staple in his hometown of São Paulo, Brazil.

One of his more recent fans, however, was so impressed by Sobrinho’s poetry that she has taken it to the web and, with it, changed the life of Brazil’s most under-appreciated artist. Shalla Monteiro was so infatuated with Sobrinho’s poetry that she began a Facebook page for him.

With a larger platform for his obvious gift, his poetry has already gained him over 40,000 fans.

One of those fans is Sobrinho’s own long lost brother, whom he hasn’t seen since landing on the streets 35 years ago.

Now with the help of his Facebook following and his two most personal fans, Sobrinho is working on publishing a book of his poetry, all from one woman who took the time to get to know a homeless man. She has since made a video about his life and journey called “The Conditioned.” You can watch it below:


Too often, our homeless become part of the scenery, but Shalla Monteiro showed both compassion and interest in someone usually ignored. Montero went beyond throwing money in a cup and got to know this remarkable man and is now helping foster his talents. She has truly gone beyond what is the usual way we treat the impoverished and is helping a man from the fringes gain the recognition he deserves, improve his quality of life, and even reunite him with family.

For all this, we think Monteiro’s compassion and generosity is more than deserving of recognition.

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