In 1981, Casa do Caminho was born from the dreams of a group of Brazilian social workers. In the beginning, they gave food to the needy and homeless. In 1982, the social workers bought a piece of land near the Tingua natural reserve, in the Xerem rural region, about one hour from Rio de Janeiro. There, they offered orphans and street children an alternative to favela life, bringing them to the safety of the wilderness to protect them from drugs and violence.
Casa do Caminho is run by a group of idealists. Kahn, the founder, died ten years ago. The other founder, Renato Pinto Campos, is still living and working at Casa do Caminho under the title of President of the organization.
In March 2007, Renato invited Bart Bijen, an ex-volunteer who had recently completed an MBA in Holland, to help run the organization. Together, Bart and Renato increased the number of volunteers at Casa do Caminho and broadened the scope of their work.
In 2009, The Casa do Caminho Language Centre opened in Ipenema in Rio de Janeiro, with the goal of helping fund the struggling orphanage. Since 2011, the school has been run by Jascha Lekowitz, and has since been recommended by tour guides and publications like Lonely Planet, and the Rio de Janeiro Times, and has up to 200 registered students at any time. The Language Centre continues to be the main source of funds for the orphanage today.
In 2011 the Public Ministry of Brazil decided that living in the town of Xerem would be better for the children, as it was closer to educational and health facilities, and easier for families to visit. The children relocated to Casa Beek within the town limits, and the forest home continues to be used by volunteers. Casa Beek is named after the Dutch town which has generously funded many of Casa do Caminho’s initiatives.
In 2012, Casa do Caminho founded the Comunidade Verde project at the Sede (forest house). Comunidade Verde is designed to allow both children and volunteers experiment with organic agriculture, with the ultimate goal of making Casa do Caminho self-sustaining.