While Brazil is getting prepared to host the World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympics, Brazilians are calling for renewed commitment from the government to invest in much needed public services and ultimately, to fight against worrying levels of inequality.
As many of you will have seen on the news this summer, Brazil has recently played host to a series of civil society protests against the current government. Initially, this was in response to a hike in bus and underground train fares.
However, the demonstrations have grown into a much larger movement for social justice; fighting against corruption and excessive spending in preparation for next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics – which Rio will host. The country suffers from a vast disparity of wealth, aggravated by the thriving drug trade. This means that marginalised and vulnerable children and youth are lured to a life on the streets – where many become involved in prostitution, drug addiction, and crime: enforcing the cycle of violence.
Earlier this year Jubilee Action and partner Viva a Vida started a new innovative programme aimed at preventing adolescents from dropping out of school and engaging in risky behaviours in the slums of Salvador, Northern Brazil. While the government is piloting a new programme in an effort to win over the endemic incidence of addiction to crack, through the training of health professionals, our intervention remains paramount to reach out to the youths, their families and their teachers.
On the picture above, Leonardo* is taking part in a prevention workshop at his school during which the students are challenged to express their feelings and emotions constructively: “muito chateado”, “very upset” in English, reads his signboard. Indeed, just like other thousands of Brazilians who took to the streets recently, Leonardo and his peers are discouraged by limited opportunities and what they perceive as growing injustice. Low salaries and lack of support also make their teachers disenchanted.
Thanks to you, our programme exists so that we can boost the youth’s self-esteem, lifting them out of their hopelessness, and providing them with the means to help themselves – so they can become both positive role models to other marginalised youth and responsible citizens of the world. We also train the teachers to set up School Prevention Committees and feel better equipped to detect children at risk. We are striving to achieve change in the most difficult circumstances. On behalf of our all our beneficiaries, we say a big thank-you.