Melina Meletakos Memorial Page

At the beginning of 2020, EduMais lost an integral member of our team: Melina Meletakos.

Melina joined us as a volunteer English teacher in Rio in 2018. As well as teaching, she rewrote the curriculum for our English classes and continued volunteering online after she left Rio.

Before coming to Brazil, Melina taught English in Japan for many years, eventually writing curricula for schools there.

She fell in love with Brazil on a trip to South America in 2017. Rio quickly became a city close to her heart, and she knew she wanted to return soon after leaving.

By the next year, Melina was back and with a purpose. She began teaching English at EduMais where she quickly stepped up and became a lead teacher.


Melina's Time in Brazil

Melina’s arrival at EduMais coincided with the political tumult of the Brazilian presidential election in 2018.

While here, she saw the blame for violence pushed onto the marginalized communities that EduMais works with. As an ally for social justice, Melina could not bear to see this happening.

Devotedly, she stood up against the political injustices in Brazil. She could not believe how the poor suffer and how most children in this country do not have access to quality education.

As a result, Melina firmly took EduMais’ mission to heart and volunteered to put her many talents to work. She began writing a new curriculum for us, sacrificing many beautiful Rio de Janeiro beach days to get the work done.

Melina's Return to South Africa

When her visa expired (she would have stayed longer in Brazil if she could have), Melina went home to South Africa. There, she contemplated her next phase in life.

Melina enrolled in a graduate program and planned to start school again in January 2020. Though on a new life path, she remained involved with EduMais, helping to supplement our curriculum.

In November 2019, Melina was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Between the time of her initial diagnosis and her surgery to remove the tumour, Melina continued her commitment to EduMais. It brought her such joy to watch our students mastering the tongue twisters she wrote into the curriculum or playing games with our volunteers solely in English.

Unfortunately, Melina died on 22 January 2020 after complications from surgery.


We continue to mourn the loss of Melina’s life but hope to forever embody her immeasurable compassion in the work we continue to do, in honour of her.


Thank you, Melina, for everything you did for EduMais and for the light you shone upon this world.

Smiling woman volunteering in Rio de Janeiro