BRAZIL: Summer Camps Provide Education for Youth in Brazil
(MissionNewswire) Since 2005, the Salesian Youth Ministry in Brazil-Recife Province has held summer camp programs for poor youth. Each year a guide is published with advice on developing themes for each day of camp and practical activities for students. This year, the Salesian summer camp theme is “Learning to be Happy.”
With a focus on families living in poverty, the summer camps provide education, cultural and recreational classes and a chance for hundreds of youth to participate within their communities.
Nearly one fourth of Brazilians live in poverty and 6.6 percent live in extreme poverty, according to a UNESCO report. While Brazil is making positive changes, there are still large gaps between the poor and the rich. Inequalities remain 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.
“The gap in opportunity for rich and poor continues to be very wide in Brazil, even with government efforts,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We are seeing that youth who are already at a social or economic disadvantage fall even further behind because of a lack of access to quality education.”
Each year in Recife Province about 30 camps are organized for thousands of youth. Close to 1,000 volunteer leaders are involved in the development and execution of the camps, including many Salesians.
This year fewer camps were run in the Province due to lack of local support and available resources being diverted to the upcoming World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.
Even with the drop in numbers, the Salesian camps continue to positively impact their students. New camps were organized in locations where previously no camps existed, such as in Salvador de Bahia where 30 youth between the ages of 12 and 14 years participated and in Carpina, Pernambuco where 40 youth organized a camp for 250 children. Three hundred young people attended camp in Juazeiro, Ceará and close to 400 in João Pessoa, Paraíba.
“The summer camps are a great opportunity for youth to continue their education and build relationships within their communities,” adds Fr. Hyde. “We want youth to lead happy productive lives and the summer camps help us to further their education, teach values and help youth on the road to a brighter future.”
UNSCO – Statistics in Brazil