Latest update

Brazil’s reported death toll from COVID-19 is the second-highest in the world, at 228,883 as of 4 February 2021. On that day, there were at least 877,123 active cases. The cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have been hit hardest and Indigenous people have been disproportionally affected. A new strain of the virus emerged from the Amazon; scientists fear it may be more deadly. Brazil has started vaccinating high-risk individuals and health care professionals. Several state and local governments across the country have issued decrees that require the use of face masks. No curfew is in place. Millions are unemployed, and there is concern over a mounting financial crisis and inflation.

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COVID-19 in Brazil

How is Compassion currently operating in Brazil?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Compassion child development centres in Brazil have begun a phased reopening. Only a handful of child development centers are open for normal activities.

    Some local church partners are able to conduct home visits and virtual activities. They are making every effort to provide for the basic needs of children, including the delivery of over 366,000 food baskets and 283,000 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have provided medical support to more than 23,600 people.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Brazil, although delivery to and from your sponsored child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing your sponsored child, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for your ministry!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Brazil, although they are currently delayed. In some communities, staff members have needed to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Brazil who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would continue to heal the children’s parents who have COVID-19 and protect the children and their siblings from falling ill.
  • God's peace and comfort would be with João and his family as they wait for his test results.
  • God's healing and comfort for Cibelly as the doctors determine if she will be permanently paralysed from a recent accident.
  • Pray that God would encourage and remind Ana and her family that God still has an amazing plan for Ana's life, even if she is in a wheelchair.
  • God would continue to protect the people of Brazil from COVID-19 and prevent it from spreading.
  • Wisdom for Brazil’s governmental leaders as they seek to stabilise the Brazilian economy and provide for the thousands who are unemployed due to the pandemic.
Emergency healthcare in Brazil

Emergency healthcare in Brazil

With Brazil in the peak of the pandemic in mid-May, hospitals prioritised treating patients with suspected COVID-19 or those with extreme emergencies. So when 13-year-old José was complaining of pain in his lower abdomen, he visited a neighbourhood health centre only to be given pain medication and sent home. His condition grew worse from there.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Brazil are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Brazil

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for four hours a day, two days a week.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend the centre for three hours a day, two days a week.
  • Students aged 12 to 18 attend the centre for four hours once a week.
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Compassion Program Activities in Brazil

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Compassion assisted children in Brazil typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Brazil.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Compassion Brazil gives age appropriate Bibles to children when they are six, 10 and when they graduate from the Child Sponsorship Program.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. A snack often consists of an egg sandwich with tea, fruit shake and crackers, fruit salad, or bread.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive a meal such as pasta, rice, vegetables and/or meat.

Health lessons - Children are taught practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests, setting realistic goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, children have opportunities to participate in activities such as sports tournaments, camps, dance performances and job fairs, as well as excursions to parks, museums, zoos and local companies. Older students are typically involved in skills workshops such as hairdressing, information technology and office skills.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Brazil

One of the world’s biggest economies and a rising global power, Brazil has struggled for decades with a growing gap between rich and poor—a gap that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officially in recession and struggling to rebound from the terrible health toll of 2020, Brazil faces an uncertain future—and the nation’s poor remain marginalised.

Home to more than 210 million people, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America, with the majority of citizens living in industrial cities, like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Rapid growth in the urban population has created serious social, environmental and political problems, with millions of people living in slums and on the streets.

Children living on the streets are subject to drug and solvent abuse, as well as prostitution and violence. As a result of extreme poverty, child prostitution is on the rise, particularly in areas frequented by foreign tourists such as Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Fortaleza.

Many indigenous groups, particularly in the Amazon region, lack access to healthcare and other services. They have been hit hard by the twin threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant deforestation, which is often driven by cattle ranchers, illegal mining and drug cartels encroaching on their traditional lands.

In rural regions of the country, literacy, infant survival rates and access to water facilities are well below the national average. Only 51 per cent of people in rural areas have access to improved sanitation facilities, compared to 88 per cent in the cities.

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