The coronavirus has torn through Brazil, where the death toll of half a million people was the second-highest in the world in June 2021. With the situation labelled as “critical”, the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on health, employment, and social and financial security – and our MSCs across Brazil are doing their best to help those who need it most.
Distributing care packages in Muriaé
The São Paulo Social Work Project is based in the city of Muriaé, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, where MSC missionaries help the poorest people every day. The project works daily on two main purposes: The provision of essential medicines which are expensive, or unavailable via public health services, and the distribution of food baskets, containing basic necessities.
In addition to food and medicine, the project also provides families in need with nappies for young children, and hygiene and cleaning products, which are more crucial than ever in the current pandemic.
The São Paulo Social Work Project is funded by donations from local people, and additional resources made available by the parish. The distribution of food, hygiene products, and medicine takes place from the project’s head office, or care packs are sent by volunteers to the homes of those who are unable to collect them in person.
The monthly cost of the project is estimated at approximately €770. This currently provides food baskets for around 80 families every month, along with the distribution of over 200 medicines monthly.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, requests for help from the São Paulo Social Work Project have increased significantly, as many people in the region find themselves unemployed and without the means to support their families. MSCs in the region are currently trying to raise funds for a year’s worth of relief aid, amounting to €9,240 in total.
Just €9.60 will provide food, medication, and cleaning products for a family in Muriaé for a month.
A donation of €115.50 will give that family these necessities for a year.
Sowing seeds for the future in Rio de Janeiro
The São Francisco de Assis Social Work Project was founded by MSCs in São Gonçalo-RJ, Brazil, in March 1988. The project originally began with the establishment of a community crèche to help single mothers and their children, before the implemention of a larger-scale project in 2005, which aimed to support disadvantaged parents and children in the area, providing opportunities for personal development and professional qualifications. With the help of this programme, single parents and vulnerable families have been able to work towards gaining education, qualifications, and paid work, all with the aim of providing independence, dignity, and an improved quality of life.
The São Francisco de Assis Project are now raising funds to help vulnerable families in Rio de Janeiro in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Their latest project, named The Desert Also Produces Flowers, will focus on:
- Promoting health and wellbeing following the pandemic, with specific attention on women’s health.
- Working with the local community employment centre to run workshops for people who are lacking in the necessary skills to find employment. These workshops will include computer skills, caregiving for the elderly and infirm, sewing and clothing production, and beauty courses.
- Developing and running educational courses to help people in financial difficulty to gain qualifications, prepare for the world of work, and improve their quality of life in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.
The Obra Comunitária São Francisco de Assis are working to raise a total of €2,900 in order to be able to fund this new community programme, which will run for a period of 10 months.
A focus on family in Pinheirinho
The ongoing plague of the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing problems of violence, marginalisation, and poverty in the area of Pinheirinho, in the city of Curitiba, and MSCs in the region are working to help vulnerable families who are struggling with a lack of facilities, a lack of support, and often, a lack of the most basic necessities.
The Projeto Família Viva, or the Living Family Project, hosts weekly meetings for 120 families in the area, with talks on themes such as addiction, health, family values, and spirituality. Monthly meetings also promote self-help, with particular emphasis on support for those struggling with alcoholism, or with family members who are dependent on alcohol.
Home visits are carried out by volunteers, who provide help and offer much-needed social interaction to those who are alone. Workshops are also held, teaching skills including knitting, embroidery, painting, and making clothes and rugs. Monthly bazaars are held to sell the products made during craft workshops, with all funds raised diverted back into the project.
The ministry provided by the Projeto Família Viva is invaluable; in addition, the group supply essential care packages to families in need every month, containing food, medicine, and basic necessities. MSCs in Pinheirinho are working to raise funds to continue the work of the Projeto Família Viva, and the provision of essential items to families who have been left without the means to support themselves as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A donation of just €19 will provide a monthly care package for a family in need in Pinheirinho.
Can you provide a Brazilian family with this lifeline?
Providing a safe haven in Minas Gerais
The Pró-Moradia Housing Project was founded by Fr Tiago Prins MSC in 1992, in Muriaé, Minas Gerais, a region of Rio de Janeiro that is significantly affected by poverty. Fr Tiago developed this project with the aim of being able to give low-income families access to safe, secure, and comfortable housing.
Sadly, the number of people living on the streets in Rio de Janeiro is increasing rapidly due to the harsh rise in unemployment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the lack of support from the Brazilian government.
Each house costs approximately €1,600 to build, and the houses themselves are built on a volunteer basis by their future residents. MSCs in Muriaé are appealing for the funds to build 10 new houses, to help those families who have lost their livelihoods and their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For €1,600, a displaced family in Brazil will have a new home. Can you help?