Two young girls with arms around each other
Brazil – August 6 2020

Brazil: Poorest people risking their lives to put food on the table

Families living in the slums (favelas) of Brazil have mouths to feed, so they have to risk catching coronavirus by going out to make a living.

Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, with more than 1.5 million people infected and over 62,000 deaths. SOS Children’s Villages Brazil helps more than 2,000 families nationwide, and Michéle Mansor, the SOS programme director, explains here why the poor are the hardest hit.

“The virus has struck Brazil’s poor favelas disproportionately. In São Paulo, people who live in poorer areas and contract the virus are up to 10 times more likely to die than people in wealthy areas. This is partly due to overcrowding in the slums and also lack of access to healthcare.

“However the biggest struggle to fight the rising number of cases is financial and practical. People have to work to put food on their tables, but this means them having to leave home every day to make a living, which exposes them to the virus.

“Most families have decided that the fear of not earning a living is greater than the fear of the virus. That means that, unless we give the families a significant way to survive, they will expose themselves no matter what. And that is a big problem in countries where the pandemic meets highly vulnerable social conditions, such as in Brazil.

“SOS Children’s Villages Brazil is helping with specific needs like providing food, water, hygiene items, helping people access public services, are we are supporting families with home care assistance through video calls. There’s so much we can do, and our presence is needed now more than ever.”


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