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SOS Children's Charity: Autumn 2006 Newsletter


SOS Children in Brazil

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with over 184 million people - about three times as many as in the UK - and, with an area of more than five million square miles, it is the largest country in South America. The country has many natural resources, including the Amazon rainforest, and some of the world’s most diverse flora and fauna. A quarter of the country's population lives on less than 65p a day. Brazil’s vast wealth is among the most unevenly distributed in the world, and it’s external debt is also the largest in the world - over 230 billion US dollars.

Despite considerable economic growth, corruption has resulted in the poor becoming poorer. Cities are expanding fast as people seek better paid jobs, but unemployment is high and so urban poverty is widespread; the result is vast shanty towns, or favelas.

Faced with extreme poverty, many children are forced to beg on the streets to survive and are at risk from exploitation.

SOS Children’s Villages started working in Brazil in the late 1960s to provide support for the poorer members of society. By 1970 three SOS Children’s Villages had been built, providing new homes and security to children whose parents could no longer support them. A further eleven SOS Children’s Villages have been built since, and in addition there are twelve SOS Social Centres, which support the local population with healthcare services, and four SOS Schools which provide the education and skills necessary to give poorer children a brighter future.

Girl from Recife

Hope for vulnerable children with SOS Children

A new village at Recife in north eastern Brazil has been built as part of the ‘6 Villages for 2006’ campaign. The new village has twelve family houses and will be home to 108 orphaned and abandoned children. In addition, the SOS Children’s Village will have an SOS Nursery School with two classrooms, and an SOS Social Centre which will offer medical and dental care, as well as counselling and emotional support, to the local population.

How is your money spent?

Just 27p pays for a month’s education for a child at an SOS Social Centre

£5.50 will cover the cost of a child’s food for a month at an SOS Social Centre

£625 will pay for a week’s worth of childcare training at an SOS Social Centre, which includes counselling and support

£1,600 will pay for one month’s medical costs at a Mother & Child Clinic at an SOS Medical Centre

Young girl from Brazil

Anna's Story

Anna* never knew her mother who died in childbirth. She lived in a Brazilian village with only her father, who regularly went out with friends, returning home drunk. Anna went to school for a while until she was told to leave because she couldn’t afford the school fees. One night, Anna’s father was returning home following a drinking spree, but the driver he had to cross on his way home was swollen due to the heavy rain. Anna’s father fell into the river and was carried away by the water.

Anna was five years old and was left crying at home alone, waiting for her father to return. After a week, neighbours discovered her, locked inside the house and with no food. When we heard about Anna’s case and her background, without anyone to care for her, Anna came to her new family at the SOS Children’s Village.

Today, Anna is fun loving and living happily with her SOS mother, brothers and sisters in the village. Anna attends the local school and is doing well in her studies. Without an official date of birth, Anna’s village designated the day she came to the village as her birthday. On that day Anna celebrates with her new family. SOS Children, meanwhile, celebrates the fact that a child, once alone, now has hope for the future.

* Name has been changed to protect Anna's privacy.

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Relevant Countries: Brazil.

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