News Archive 2009-2018

From Brazilian Slums to Bowdoin College: Sophomore Gives Back Archives

Juan Magalhães ’21 working on project in South Africa in 2017

Bowdoin sophomore Juan Magalhães shared his inspiring story with the Bangor Daily News over the weekend. Growing up in poverty in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba, he described how his parents worked fifteen-hour days so he and his brother could concentrate on their studies.

The soccer-loving student won scholarships to a US boarding school in Brazil, and then to a school in California, where he began thinking about ways “to give back.” He began traveling on mission trips to countries in Central America and to South Africa, where he helped build a community kitchen in an elementary school “that now feeds more than 900 students each day.”

Magalhães has continued his volunteer work at Bowdoin, where he majors in economics and Hispanic studies. He is currently raising money for a school improvement project in Thailand, through a nonprofit that he founded. In January, members of the Bowdoin soccer team are planning to visit Ban Klongsai School in Phang Nga, Thailand, where they will repair structural damage and provide essential supplies for the school and its students. Click here for details.