BRAZIL: Families in Xavante villages receive food baskets
Operation Mato Grosso provides ongoing support to communities
(MissionNewswire) Salesian volunteers with Operation Mato Grosso delivered 300 food baskets to families in various Xavante villages in Campinápolis, Brazil. The villages are served by the Salesian St. Dominic Savio Parish and the initiative was made possible thanks to donations, mainly from Italy.
Today, there are about 10,000 Xavante people in the region, spread over more than 200 villages. These communities face extreme poverty. They are receiving support and training for the cultivation of land, as well as financial support for the purchase of materials, fertilizers and seeds.
Hunger is one of the biggest challenges and the situation only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 500 Indigenous people are regularly hired by state and municipal governments to work in the field of education. Given schools were suspended to avoid infection, people were without work and their families were facing hunger. There were several cases of underweight and malnourished children — and even deaths of children — due to illnesses aggravated by the lack of food.
“These food basket donations have been occurring for some time and people are grateful for the support,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “There is a good relationship between the Salesians and the Xavante people, and the support goes beyond food donations. There have been medical clinics, other aid and supplies provided, and training to help people farm more efficiently. The goal is always to help people to become more self-sufficient.”
According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Brazil with poverty tripling in 2021. Nearly 17 million people fell into poverty in the first quarter of the year and the poverty rate now is higher than it was a decade ago. Researchers estimate that 12.8% of Brazil’s population, some 27 million people, are now living below the poverty line.
Inequalities also exist in access to education and educational efficiency. These inequalities are greatest for children and youth who are poor, live in rural areas or who have an incomplete compulsory education. Salesians working with poor youth and their families in Brazil develop programs and provide youth with opportunities for furthering their education and skills.
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Salesian Missions – Brazil
World Bank – Brazil