BRAZIL: Mamma Margarita Salesian Youth Center provides food and hygiene products to families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
(MissionNewswire) The Mamma Margarita Salesian Youth Center, located in the municipality of Niterói, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, is helping needy families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic by distributing food and hygiene products. The youth center launched a Salesian Solidarity Campaign, which has supported these efforts for four months. Since the start of the pandemic, many businesses, companies and shops have had to suspend their work. This included the Salesian Youth Center.
According to the Salesian Social Communication Office, many children who live in the areas surrounding the Salesian Youth Center were being fed at the youth center before the pandemic because their families did not have enough money for food. It was critical that funds were utilized to continue to feed these children during the lockdown period.
“When we started the campaign in March, it was mainly to help the approximately 350 children we serve here at the youth center. These children come from families with low incomes, and they are socially vulnerable and at risk,” said Father Denis Dutra Marques, a Salesian missionary working in Brazil.
According to Fr. Marques, other families in the local communities began to seek support from the Salesian Youth Center. He said, “The families learned that we were distributing kits with basic foods and came to us for help. We decided to register all of these people to follow each family’s situation more precisely. There were weeks in which we had 90 families to look after and we had no food to deliver. But when the day of distribution came, we ended up with more than 90 kits, closer to 120, and there were 120 families to take the kit.”
The Salesian Solidarity Campaign continues to collect non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items. Donations are left at the reception of the Salesian Institutes of Niterói, which remain open 24 hours a day to avoid social gatherings.
The World Bank estimates that about 28.6 million Brazilians moved out of poverty between 2004 and 2014. But from the start of 2016 to the end of 2017, the World Bank estimates that 2.5 million to 3.6 million fell back below the poverty line earning less than 140 Brazilian reais per month. Economists blame high unemployment, near 13 percent, and cuts to key social welfare programs for challenges in Brazil.
Issues of income inequality and social exclusion remain the root causes for those in poverty. 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