BRAZIL: Salesians support Yanomami community
Projects made possible by donor funding through Salesian Missions
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in the Maturacá mission in Alto Rio Negro, the Brazilian part of Amazon rainforest, provided support for the Yanomami Indigenous community thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Salesians have been in the region for more than 40 years and have a school, center and parish.
During the funding period from October 2021-2022, Salesians visited four villages and provided recreational and sporting activities for 646 children. In addition, Salesians provided religious sacraments and made home visits for health and education support. Funding also provided for a range of support including gasoline for motorboats, a 4×4 car rental, diesel for a power generator, educational materials and meals for students, batteries for solar energy, and personnel costs.
One of the biggest challenges is accessing the community given the distance and terrain to reach the mission. Salesians take many journeys between the Maturacá base and smaller Yanomami communities. Fuel for boats and a car to travel over the gravel roads are important for their work.
Salesians work against illiteracy and poverty while cultivating and preserving traditional culture. Education also includes information about healthy living and protecting the environment. More than 500 people are involved in the education.
In addition, Salesians focus on ensuring children have the nutrition they need. A Salesian explained, “Malnutrition is a serious problem in the region. The main food is cassava and caught fish or hunted game. However, often children do not receive a nutritious meal. On the mission, the youngest are nourished during breaks between lessons and during the activity in the oratory and parish. Salesians supplement food and vitamins to help prevent malnutrition.”
Funding also provided for batteries for solar energy. In 2008, solar panels and energy storage batteries were purchased that provide electricity at night. The previous batteries are currently at 10% of their life, but with the donor funding, Salesians were able to purchase new batteries.
Salesian missionaries in Brazil provide education, workforce development and social services throughout the country. 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