Date of birth: 11.02.1981
Scholarship holder since: 01.03.2023

Leandro Augusto Portella Santos was born on 11 February 1981 in the city of Osasco. When he was 5 years old, he moved with his family to a ranch in Aragoiaba da Serra, where his grandparents already lived.
At the age of 17, during an excursion with his family, Leandro went to the beach in Ubatuba to ride a sea wave. He can't explain what happened next, but after the dive his body was completely paralysed and floating with his head in the water. One of his brothers, noticing that something was wrong, ran to help him. It took one and a half hours until the rescue arrived and took him to the nearest emergency room. However, Leandro was soon transferred to Hospital dos Clinicas in Sao Paulo, one of the largest hospitals in Latin America. He was treated there for another 6 months. He received a tracheostoma. At a later stage, a very dangerous but vital operation took place. During his time at Hospital dos Clinicas, Leandro met our Scholarship Holder Eliana Zagui, who lives there.
He was encouraged to paint with his mouth by his mother and his girlfriend. Soon a former art teacher at the college offered to give him painting lessons. They organised some exhibitions of his artwork and so he started to sell his paintings to earn extra income. Leandro Portella studied public management and is now serving his second term as a councillor in his home town. But he never abandoned painting. As his movements are limited, some students from the University of Engineering and Occupational Therapy have developed a kind of easel / scaffolding that serves as a structure for him to paint his canvases. However, he constantly needs someone to mix the colours for him and also to wet the brush.

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