Child from Jacarepaguá, BrazilAmidst Brazil's success in climbing to the world's top 10 economies, there is great inequality in the country. The richest 10% take 43% of the country's income where the bottom 10% take just 1%.

Inequality has created massive social problems, especially in one of the country's largest cities, Rio de Janeiro.

A city of two halves

Rio de Janeiro has a population of 6.3 million. In 2014 it hosted the World Cup and in 2016, the Olympics. World famous for its beaches and carnival, it is a major tourist destination and commercial centre.

As with most wealthy cities in Latin America, where the rich thrive, so the poor arrive. Poor internal migrants move to Rio, seeking a better life. Initially many move to favelas, precarious slum settlements that sprawl over the hills surrounding the city.

Favelas are unplanned settlements and lack basic facilities such as sewerage, fresh water supplies, education and healthcare facilities. There are social problems associated with poverty such as child exploitation, malnutrition and high crime rates. These are frequently within a stone's throw of luxurious apartment blocks.

Disparity of incomes linked to child murders

A child from Jacarepagua in BrazilMany commentators refer to 'social apartheid' in Brazil, where those at the bottom are discriminated against on basis of their incomes, while the rich are given everything they need. The top 10% of society take nearly half the nation's income per capita, where the bottom 10% take less than 1%.

In the approach to Rio's two years in the world spotlight, there has been a crackdown on violence in the city. Rio has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America, which impacts uneducated, poor 15-24 year olds the most. Though overall rates of violence have decreased with the crackdown, there has actually been an increase in the proportion of murders among this socio-economic group.

What we do in Jacarepaguá

We set up SOS Children's Village, Jacarepaguá in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro in 1982. We run a variety of programmes, reaching into the community and trying to keep families together through our family strengthening programme and looking after children who can no longer live with their parents and have fallen through the net.

Our family strengthening programme is designed to counsel and advise families on how to stay together. This might be discussing parenting skills, but also show how to improve their income and not have to depend on their children working to help make ends meet, thereby allowing those children to attend school. We also provide daycare, which allows parents to work while their children are being looked after in a safe environment.

SOS Children's Village Jacarepaguá

SOS families in our Children's Village support children who can no longer live with their parents. sponsor a child BrazilEach family lives in a house within the local area, allowing children to grow up part of their community.

At the moment, we are only able to accept regular donations and Village sponsorships for our work in Brazil, because all of our children are fully sponsored.

If you would like to sponsor a child, you may do so in other Central and South America countries and other continents around the world.


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