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Snapshot of Brazil


of people live below the poverty line


lack access to improved sanitation


babies under the age of one die per 1000 births

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. After a recent recession and multiple corruption scandals among its political elite, Brazil faces an uncertain future—and the nation’s poor remain marginalised.

Home to more than 200 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.

Despite progress over the past decade, there remains a wide gap between the rich and the poor in Brazil. In rural regions of the country, literacy, infant survival rates and access to water facilities are well below the national average. Only 58 per cent of people in rural areas have access to adequate sanitation facilities, compared to 91 per cent in the cities.

Brazilians will go to the polls for Presidential elections toward the end of 2018 and already there is widespread uncertainty and speculation as to who is most likely to run. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) was convicted of corruption and sent to jail in April 2018. He had been the frontrunner for this year’s election and still leads many polls despite his conviction making him ineligible. The electorate is increasingly polarised and restive, and it’s likely the national mood will remain volatile in the leadup to election day.

Jose Carrasco

A letter from Compassion Brazil Interim Country Director Jose Carrasco

Dear Sponsor, Greetings in Jesus’ name! My name is Jose Carrasco. I am the South America Area Director and I’ve been privileged to serve as the Interim Country Director of Brazil since 2014. I was born in Peru; I am married to Laura and we have two wonderful children, Jose Alonso and Natalia. I am proud to inform you that Compassion has been serving Brazil for more than 40 years. We currently have 182 projects in Brazil and are serving more than 51,000 children. The impact of Compassion’s holistic program in the life of a child is huge!

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Geisiane’s Lost Treasure

In the community of São Cristóvão in northeastern Brazil, the great majority of its 18,000 inhabitants live in vulnerability. In this community, a filthy stream crosses one specific street, dividing the people into those who are vulnerable and those who are most vulnerable. The stream isn’t just a border—it’s a constant threat to the surrounding families, regularly rising after heavy rain to flood their homes.

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Prayer requests for Brazil

  • Please pray for BR-0544, a child development centre in Pacajus in the nation’s northeast. The staff there write: “The town has experienced a very difficult phase of violence and crime, which has directly affected the church’s actions in the region. The neighbourhood is dominated by criminals, which hampers entry and exit of volunteers in the area. The parents of some children were forced to leave their homes and flee because they have some kind of relationship with the factions. This context of fear has delayed our activities and prevented us from carrying out home visits.” Please pray for safety and strength for the church, centre staff and the children and their families. Please pray for God’s Spirit of peace to bring change to the neighbourhood.

  • Please pray for the Compassion Brazil staff as they look to relocate the national office from Campinas in Brazil’s southeast to Fortaleza in the northeast. This is a big move and requires a lot of prayer—please pray for the practicalities and logistics, as well as for all the staff who are affected.

  • Please pray for Kelly, a Compassion assisted girl who has been suffering from fainting spells. She has an appointment soon to see a neurologist; please pray for her and her family as they await the results of the tests she needs. Pray for strength and peace.

  • Pray for the families of Sertão (a particularly poor region of Brazil). Many parents there are unemployed, and the trend is for families to migrate to other parts of Brazil in search of work. When this happens, usually there is no possibility for the children to continue in the Compassion program.

  • Pry for Janaína, a local centre staff member who has been struggling with depressive problems due to the situation of her community. Pray for support and healing for her. And please pray for all local staff as they confront the daily difficulties and traumas of poverty and seek to serve the children most affected.

Stories from Compassion in Brazil

31 Mar, 2020

How to Help Orphans Without Adopting

The Bible instructs us to help orphans and take up the cause of the fatherless, but how do we do that? What if we don’t know any orphans or aren’t in a position to adopt? .. Read more

03 Mar, 2015

8 Powerful Photos of Children's Rooms in the Developing World

These photos are a fascinating, and at times confronting, insight into the lives of children around the world in Compassion’s program... Read more

06 Jun, 2018

Maria's Story: I know I will rebuild my life with God's help

“My heart still cries every time I look at my children. But today I know that, despite all my worries, God is taking care of me.” Maria, 24, a local of Santa Inês in Brazil’s northeast, found out she was pregnant just days after her partner abandoned her. But the local church rallied to her aid and instilled in her a powerful hope. This is her story... Read more