Brazil is one of the world’s largest economies, but also one of the most unequal. The poorest ten per cent of Brazilians receive just one per cent of national income.
About a quarter of Brazilians, over 48 million people, are living in poverty and unable to meet their basic needs. The pressure on land for massive agro-export farming has caused widespread migration from the countryside to cities. Urban poverty is characterised by over-crowded shanty towns, low wages and poor public services. In the countryside, there are many land conflicts because of the struggle between economic profit and environmental protection.
CAFOD in Brazil
CAFOD is working with our Brazilian partner organisations to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable groups respond to these challenges. Together, we are:
- working with indigenous people to help them improve their living conditions and defend their land rights
- supporting educational and peace-building work with children and young people in violent shanty towns
- helping homeless families in São Paulo and landless families in the north and north-east of Brazil to have a more secure place to live
- lobbying the government to provide vulnerable people with greater access to basic social welfare.
During the 2014 football World Cup we ran a campaign called Stand by Brazil. Thank you to the thousands of CAFOD supporters who signed the letter, urging Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of São Paulo, and Fernando Haddad, Mayor of São Paulo, to protect people’s rights to decent housing, education, transport and sanitation.
We indigenous communities are saying look at the sky - it's changing/ The sun is changing. The rain is changing. The men in the cities, we want them to listen and believe us, to look to the future and the past, to see what is happening and to see the pollution, destruction, poverty, illness.
My message is this: think from the heart and the head. Change your thinking. Think of the earth. It is life. The forest is life. Water is life."
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami