Three million people live in Salvador de Bahia – in north-eastern Brazil. The favela of Alagados (wetlands) hosts 40,000 of them. This neighborhood plagued by drug trafficking , prostitution and corruption, was the scene of much violence that reverberates a little more each year.
In 2006, the pastor of Our Lady of Alagados created a solidarity association , Joao de Deus, which works for peace in the area by offering people various development projects . Today, four Fidesco volunteers provide assistance to 12 employees and 30 volunteers of the association, including tutoring for many children of the favela .
Promoting the development of disadvantaged children
Each year, about sixty children from 7 to 11 years are welcomed at the center. Tutoring (mathematics, Portuguese, grammar … ) is made as much as possible in a fun way, with groups adapted to the difficulties faced by children. They receive two balanced meals daily and participate in cultural, artistic, sporting or spiritual events.
This year , following a rise of violence in the neighborhood, a new project of street entertainment is designed to attract children who roam the streets : ” Go to those who do not dare to come to us.”
In 2013 , 81 families have applied to enroll their children. All have not yet received a positive response, for lack of space and budget …
A real opportunity for families
In addition to the actual tutoring , volunteers provide an important complement to education. Indeed, the vast majority of these children live without a father …
The association has opened a training center to help women in precarious situations to become qualified in sewing, personal care, cooking or information technology. Girls , mothers and mothers are also accompanied by parishioners during pregnancy and the first six months of their child’s life . Finally, scholarships are provided to youths who wish to enter into the university .
The Alagados a blessed place !
This poor neighborhood in Salvador de Bahia has already received three significant visits: in 1970 , Sister Dulce , ” the good angel of Bahia ” founded the hospital Sao Antonio; in 1979 , Mother Teresa founded the first house of the Missionaries of Charity in Brazil; finally, in 1980 , it was at the Alagados that John Paul II chose to meet the poor of Brazil …