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BRAZIL: Salesian missionaries to build a new welcome house for youth in need of shelter and support in Iauaretê


(MissionNewswire) Every day Salesian missionaries in Iauaretê, Brazil, welcome children and teens who are alone and abandoned, offering them a meal and a protected place to find shelter and be able to sleep away from danger. The Salesian mission of Iauaretê consists of a central missionary district which comprises the St. Michael Archangel parish and 11 chapels.

However, the work of the Salesian missionaries there extends over an area far greater, reaching 40 indigenous communities made up of 16 different ethnic groups. Missionaries place particular emphasis on their work with adolescents and children in the communities. Every day, the Salesian oratory welcomes 300 to 500 children who seek out a healthy protective environment.

To further help youth in need, Salesian missionaries are building a welcome house, which will also have classrooms for vocational training. The two-story building will have two bedrooms with bathrooms that will be available for guests, girls and teachers, a meeting and study room, the refectory, the pantry, the kitchen, the laundry room, and an external bathroom.

The second floor of the building will have six more bedrooms with bathrooms and a community room. Of these, two large rooms will be for children and one of them will be used for older youth taking vocational training classes. Another four rooms will host missionaries.

“Children are in need of shelter, proper nutrition, and most importantly, an ability to feel safe in their home,” says Father Roberto Cappelletti, a Salesian missionary who has spent the last 14 years in Brazil. “They need to be able to live without the fear of returning to their hut and being beaten by the adult that is supposed to be providing care for them. Living on the streets away from that family violence, they are sometimes subjected to worse. This is why we are creating a new shelter for these youth.”

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.

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 the country.

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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