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Projeto Meninos e Meninas de Rua

Fighting Hunger in Brazil
By Projeto Meninos e Meninas de Rua (Street Boys and Girls Project)
Translated by Rosangela Oliveira*
São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil
‘Food security’ and ‘nutritional health’ mean a guarantee for all the access to good basic foods, enough in amount, and in a permanent way without compromising the access to other essential needs and through healthy food habits that enhance dignity in the context of the holistic development of the human being.
In the Street Boys and Girls Project we are engaged in the discussion and implementation of the Brazilian Government’s plan to combat hunger, called the Zero Hunger Program. It is a federal government program to assure the human rights to the adequate feeding of people with difficulties to access foods. It sponsors food and nutritional security to promote social inclusion and civil rights of the most vulnerable population to hunger. In the project we work to get the families to apply to the government programs that re-distribute financial resource and food as Bolsa Familia (Family Scholarship) and Zero Hunger Program.
Brazil is a country of deep social contrasts. There are families who live as if they were in a first world country, while others survive out of garbage. In the Southeastern region of the country, where the Project works, people do not get to go hungry, but they live eating out of garbage. They live eating what people do not want; we call it the “restos” (leftover). Those are the families we target; therefore the issue of food security is a constant theme in our daily life.
For three years we had established partnership with the Steel Union and the Salvador Arena Foundation, where we work with 100 families who are in situation of social vulnerability. We give them a voucher worth of R$120,00 (around U$ 100) to shop for food, and we also engage the families in the workshops we promote on gender and citizenship (meaning civil rights), health, family budget and rights. The objective is that these families feel empowered and autonomous to fight for their rights. We assist them weekly.
We believe that to supply food is a short term solution; we need to come up with strategies that help those families to leave the situation of misery. This is why we want to amplify the programs that generate income, and promote economic inclusion. We are active in the Councils that deliberate on public policies for infancy and adolescence and also in the Councils of Social Assistance.
We know that an empowered mother cares for their children and their rights. We keep up our work with the children and adolescents to promote their personal growth, social inclusion and leadership roles.
*Rosangela Oliveira is a regional missionary in Brazil with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.

© 2014 United Methodist Women