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Sr. Bride recently visited 4 of our projects in Brazil.

Sr. Bride recently visited 4 of our projects in Brazil. Here she gives us a flavour of life on the ground for the Sisters working in Latin America. Meet some of the families they work with.

This is a family with the mother of 8 children. The father deserted. Four of the children suffer from a severe condition which is described as something similar to AIDS, in that the blood lacks some essential ingredients. The condition is treatable and with good medical attention a lot of improvement is possible. However, these children have had almost no treatment and therefore four of them suffer the worst effects of the disease. Some cannot speak, and some cannot walk and none except the girl of 14, has ever been to school. A lot of improvement in speech and walking is possible with proper school attendance at at school for children with special needs.

  • Mariana, 3 years of age, has the full-blown illness, does not speak and one eye is badly turned outwards.
  • Renata, aged 6 years, has traces of the illness but it will not become full-blown.
  • Ana Julia, aged 10, has the full-blown illness and does not speak.
  • Junho, aged 11, has the full-blown illness and does not speak. He also has wounds.
  • Alison aged 13, has the full-blown illness, does not speak and cannot walk properly.

The family lives literally underground, in a roughly constructed premises. There are no windows or front door. The family survives on a pension which Alison aged 13 is entitled to because of his deformities. Four of the children use nappies as they have not been toilet-trained. They get regular food hampers from the Church and from the St. Vincent de Paul society. The Little Sisters have been supporting the family over the years, but have felt unable to get to grips with the two major problems, which are lack of medical attention, and lack of schooling.

Pal has agreed to fund a programme which will enable the family to secure the medical attention they need and to help them access some form of education.

This is a young mother with her 5 year old child. She also has an infant of just under 2 years. She is a single mother aged 22. Her life has been precarious since her adolescence. She left her family of origin because of severe conflicts at 16 years of age and lived rough on the streets of Umburanas, with no income whatsoever. She suffered severe rejection and serious bouts of depression and lived in abject poverty, not knowing where her next meal would come from.


When she became pregnant with her first child, she continued with no fixed abode, and friends and other people of good will tried to help her. As she matured a little, she was able to rent a room and begin to try to build a life for herself and her child. Being in such a vulnerable situation and open to sexual exploitation, she became pregnant again with her second child. Her income today is the Bolsa Familia, which is a government income for people who have very little or no income at all. She gets €40 per month for herself and her two children. From this she pays €24 rent for a small one-bedroomed house. She pays €6 for water charges and €3 electricity monthly. This leaves her approx. €8 for food for herself and her two children per month!

Full story in March newsletter