News of Brazil’s continued economic growth (Boom time for Brazil as it overtakes UK to become world’s sixth largest economy, 7 March) will not sit so easily with those who live on the darker side of Brazil’s commodity-fuelled boom. Luxury shopping malls and visits from Hollywood stars are a world away from the human misery I saw when I visited Brazil at the end of last year. In the slums of Recife, one of Brazil’s poorest cities in the north-east, I saw human misery all around, with children living in squalid shacks among pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers.
For too many children in Brazil news of economic growth and talk about “a land of opportunities” will mean little. Unicef estimates that there are as many as three million children living and working in the streets of Brazil – scavenging and begging for food. It will take years for the wealth acquired by Brazil’s newly prosperous to trickle down to those who currently live their lives in abject poverty.
In the meantime, organisations like Happy Child International, with the support of the Brazilian authorities, continue to do what we can to provide food, care and support to the largely forgotten victims of Brazil’s success. We can barely keep up with their needs and numbers. There is a lot of work to be done before they too can share in the fruits of Brazil’s success.
Sarah de Carvalho
Chief executive, Happy Child International
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