BRAZIL: Indigenous communities receive medical care
Salesian centers host medical students and doctors for health clinics
(MissionNewswire) Salesian centers in Sangradouro and Meruri, Brazil, were host to 41 medical students and doctors from the University Center Faculty of Medicine in Santos. This was the 14th expedition of the Academic Project of Assistance to Indigenous Peoples (PAAPI), which started in 2009. The project provided medical clinics for Xavante Indigenous people in Sangradouro and Bororo Indigenous people in Meruri.
In Sangradouro, volunteers organized a health clinic and administered medicines and treatments, while another group played with the children. On the second day, after a Catholic Mass, the volunteers split into groups to make home visits. They also finished seeing patients at the health clinic and spent more time with the children.
After lunch, the burití run took place, which is a Xavante tradition. Two groups of men compete by running 10 kilometers and taking turns carrying a burití plant on their shoulders. At the end, everyone danced in a festive atmosphere in the village.
In Meruri, students organized and sorted medicines to be dropped off at the Salesian health center, while project leaders did a sweep of the village grounds to map houses. Volunteers also organized various games for the children. The following day, volunteers washed the hair of youth who were suffering from parasites. More home visits also took place.
“While Salesians are primarily focused on education, they also provide feeding programs and help to meet needs like shelter and medical support,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians aim to serve the whole person by making sure that basic needs are met and this is especially important in Indigenous communities where there are few resources.”
Salesian missionaries in Brazil provide education, workforce development, and social services throughout the country and specifically focus on children with disabilities within several programs. Missionaries help to meet the basic needs of poor youth, including street children, and provide them with an education and life skills to gain employment, break the cycle of poverty, and lead productive lives.
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 percent of Brazil’s population, some 27 million people, are now living below the poverty line.
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Salesian Missions – Brazil
World Bank – Brazil