New Educational Centers Help At-Risk Children in Brazil

Artur Nogueira, Brazil
Beth Michaels
New Educational Centers Help At-Risk Children in Brazil

At-risk children and their families in central Brazil are now benefiting from the opening of two new educational centers

At-risk children and their families in central Brazil are now benefiting from the opening of two new educational centers, reports the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues to receive the Brazilian government’s support and international attention for its program assisting through education and medical assistance.

With the two new centers, ADRA now provides more than 750 at-risk children and their families with educational and medical assistance at a total of 12 centers throughout central Brazil. The new educational center in Cuiba, Mato Grosso state, celebrated its grand opening on May 28. The center in Goiania, Goias state, opened on May 25. Both centers were built with donations from ADRA supporters in Ireland.

Children, ages seven to fourteen, attend the centers for half of their normal school day. At the center, they receive nutritional assistance, attend classes that help integrate them back into society and help them with learning processes for school (handicrafts, choir, some centers have computer classes), and go on day trips.

Every ADRA center has been given a community service award from the local government. “Mayors will make weekly trips to the centers to show a group of people an example of what they believe should be done in Brazil’s educational system,” explains Daniel Pereira dos Santos, ADRA Central Brazil director.

In some regions, the local government considers the center’s educational facilities to be an example to other villages. “ADRA is requested by some state governments to be in charge of children who have committed crimes. They want ADRA involved because they recognize that we are doing a very good job with prevention,” says dos Santos.

Most families in Brazil live in the slum areas of the inner cities. In Brazil, reportedly 32 million people live below the poverty level-half of them are children. Some children are forced to leave school to work and increase the income of the family. The government assists ADRA in opening the centers by providing land and funding for maintenance costs. ADRA donors in Ireland, Canada and Sweden also assisted in making all the centers become a reality. Two more centers are scheduled to open later this year. On August 6, a new center will be opening in Apiai, São Paulo state. Another center will open on September 19 in Brasilia.

Other projects ADRA is operating in central Brazil include basic medical care and job training for 2,000 Carajá Indians in Tocantins and Mato Grosso states. ADRA’s community center in Vila Matilde has been serving the urban population in central Brazil for the past ten years with vocational training for adults and adolescents. ADRA also provides orphanage care in Aracoiaba da Serra, professional training for unemployed people, and portable medical assistance to poor families.

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