Saturday, August 22, 2015

Step Into My World: Northeastern Urban Brazil

Let's visit Brazil, shall we?

Compassion works solely in Northeastern Brazil, in both the urban and rural regions. Today we will explore what life is like for children living in urban communities. Sadly, life in the cities of Brazil is very difficult. Urban Brazil is, unfortunately, known for its rampant gang violence, drug culture, and prostitution. One of the biggest cities at risk for these things is Fortaleza, which is where my child in Brazil lives.

You can see the city of Fortaleza on this map. There are also other cities on the map, in the Northeastern region that Compassion works in, like Natal and Recife.

The ocean-side cities in Northeastern Brazil are very beautiful. There are large, old buildings that border sandy beaches and pretty blue water. Urban Brazil is a great place for tourists to visit on their vacations. 

Unfortunately, these beautiful landmarks mask the poverty-ridden slums that most of Brazil's poorest people live in. City slum homes are typically small, one-room buildings that are rented by large families. These homes are often built with found materials and don't offer much protection from the elements and unwanted visitors. 

The urban slums in Brazil are run by gangs. Each gang chooses to "run" a certain portion of a neighborhood and will fight to the death to keep rival gangs out of their territory. Unfortunately, this gang lifestyle brings other dangers to these communities, such a recruitment of children, drugs, and child sexual trafficking. The children in these communities are often at-risk for being roped into these activities because, with their parents gone working for many hours a day, young children often left to take care of themselves and to wander the streets. 

Thankfully, Compassion offers these children a safe place to be, without the fear of gangs invading into their lives. Compassion children are loved, respected, and taught to love themselves. Compassion tutors teach children about the dangers in their neighborhood and pray that each child will avoid the negative aspects of the urban culture. Children at the Compassion project are happy and healthy. 

One of the major issues in this region is hygiene. With small, dirty homes, dirty water, and open sewage in the streets, families do not know how to keep things clean. Children are often filthy, wearing dirty clothes, and have rotting teeth. Compassion teaches lessons in basic hygiene to keep their registered children as healthy as possible. 

Like with any sponsored child, one of the best encouragements a sponsor can give their child is through letters. Children that receive regular letters from their sponsors have been found to be more confident, happier, better at school, and more ambitious than their peers that don't receive letters. Please write to your sponsored child! 

Compassion Brazil has the following prayer requests: 

- Pray for children living in areas affected by drought, where it is difficult to avoid hygiene-related illness. 

- Pray for more jobs throughout the region, Unemployment causes many parents to abandon their families for better opportunities elsewhere. 

- Pray for the children's education. Schools in this region are poor and it is up to Compassion to bridge the gap. 

I have two sweet five year olds to share with you today. Both of these children live in the city of Fortaleza and are at risk for many dangers. Please consider sponsoring them today. 

Luiz has been sponsored!

Meet Maria. She is 5 years old. Her birthday is February 14th, 2010. She shares her home with her mother. She doesn't have any siblings. Her mother finds jobs when she can. Maria helps her mother by running errands. She likes playing house, art, and playing with dolls. She is in kindergarten and has average performance. 

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