By Janet Tappin Coeho
A teen magician, is dressing up as an Easter bunny to conjure up chocolate eggs for dozens of street children who normally miss out on a chocolate treat.
For the past week, Andrey Mandrake has been hopping out at lunchtime, during his work break, in search of a young audience.
Many can be found sitting outside restaurants and supermarkets begging for food around this time of day.
The talented 19-year-old has been performing his big-hearted confectionary trick for down-and-out kids in his home city of Curitiba in south Brazil, and filming the heart-warming reactions.
So far, the considerate lad has distributed more than 30 eggs to homeless infants and plans to magic up a further 20 over the Easter holidays.
Armed with his magician’s tools – a wooden bucket with lids, a tub of powdered milk, a tin of chocolate powder and some Easter egg wrapping paper tucked up his sleeve, Andrey manages to bring a smile to the faces of those who rarely receive gifts.
“We have so many deprived children living on Curitiba’s streets who beg every day for food and money. This is my way of showing them their lives matter with the small resources and the skills I have at my fingertips,” says Andrey.
The spell begins with the young alchemist asking his unsuspecting participants to check the bucket is empty. Then he pours in the spell-making ingredients and folds in the wrapping paper before ever widening eyes.
“Once I’ve added in my magic powder, I get the children to blow on the bucket with all their might for the trick to work,” explains Andrey.
Then with an elaborate wave of his hand he invites his young helpers to lift the lid and hey-presto inside is a gift-wrapped Easter egg.
Andrey’s entertaining lunch-break is proving a real Easter hit for many little ones who scream with delight.
But some are noticeably wary of the rabbit with his painted white face.
“I always get down to their level and ask them for their names and whether they would like to be my assistant,” explains Andrey.
“I also find it’s important to warm them up with a few jokes and even give them a hug, because some of the kids are actually terrified when they
see me coming,” he reveals with a laugh.
In fact, one little boy wearing a red tank top sits perfectly still with his eyes staring straight ahead as Andrey approaches at the end of the video.
He appears to be too scared to look at the white bunny, and sneaks sidelong glances at the figure as his mum sitting nearby reveals her son was close to tears when the costumed creature turned up.
It takes the unbridled glee of his more courageous brother, sitting beside him on the pavement in a blue and white top, to reassure his frightened sibling that all is okay.
The child soon overcomes his fear as he sees, then eagerly grabs his chocolate present.
And as the bunny disappears off after abracadabraing up the sweet-toothed treats, the braver brother triumphantly pipes up: “See there was no need to be scared. He didn’t do anything to frighten us!”
Andrey, who has been practicing magic since the age of 12, calls his social action project ‘Mágica da Solidariedade’ (The Magic of Solidarity).
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference to people’s lives and I love seeing the pleasure on people’s faces and their eyes light up when the magic is
revealed,” he says.
The compassionate teen is known in his city for demonstrating a charitable sleight of hand.
During Christmas last year and up to February this year, he conjured up sandwiches and coffee for over a 100-destitute people.
He says: “I decided to adapt my tricks so they were not just about having fun and being full of surprises but they were also practical and generous as well.”
Andrey, works in the restaurant industry training bar and catering staff and is partnered by his friend and work colleague Joilson Guilherme da Silva, 24, who also acts as an assistant and a joint benefactor.
The pair will fork out nearly 800 reais (£200) from their own pockets this Easter on eggs for deprived youngsters.
Joilson says: “When I was growing up I always expected to receive Easter eggs as many children do.
“Most of the kids living on the streets can only look at the colourful display of hundreds of Easter eggs hanging in the shops and wish they could have one.
“This year some will have their dreams turned into reality.”