Education for Brazil’s slum children

Brazil, Salvador de Bahia

 Brazil    Salvador de Bahia

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.