Charities Operating in Brazil
Between 2019 and 2021, 9.6 million people who were not previously impoverished fell below the poverty line. By 2021, 62.9 million people in Brazil (29.6% of the population) had a monthly per capita income of up to R$497. This was the highest level of poverty that the country had experienced since 2012. Although Brazil is facing a number of issues, such as homelessness and poverty, five charities operating in Brazil aim to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged citizens.

5 Charities Operating in Brazil

  1. The Favela Foundation. This organization came about in 2017 with the goal of, according to its website, “contributing to the development and growth of sustainable social and educational projects in the favelas of Brazil.” Essentially, the Favela Foundation provides various forms of support to grassroots initiatives working to advance education and improve social welfare in the favelas. The Foundation also works alongside NGOs to provide free English classes to people of all ages. Knowledge of English can help boost working and earning potential in Brazil. The Foundation’s main area of operation is in Rocinha — a favela located inside Rio de Janeiro and also the largest favela in the country.
  2. Catalytic Communities. This nonprofit organization is a Rio- based think tank and advocacy NGO. In short, this organization works as a news and research source that advocates for the well-being of the people who inhabit the favelas of Rio. This nonprofit plays a role in advocating for pro-favela legislation within the local and national governments by raising awareness and conducting research. Its most recent project is making a legislative proposal that would allow Community Land Trusts in Brazil. These trusts would help by essentially providing more affordable housing.
  3. Community in Action. Founded in 2004, this NGO focuses on social outreach with the goal of facilitating community development in the favelas through education initiatives and other projects. The organization has a large network of volunteers from all over the world. Volunteer opportunities include providing English lessons, assisting with child care, assisting with manual labor and urban gardening projects. With its plethora of volunteer opportunities, anyone who wishes to help has many options.
  4. ActionAid. This U.K.-based NGO has played a humanitarian role in Brazil since 1999. Most recently, ActionAid has made efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Brazil’s most at-risk residents. It has helped vulnerable Brazilians amid the pandemic by providing food, hygiene kits and protective face masks to those in need. Prior to the pandemic, ActionAid focused on education for slum children, safeguarding girls from sexual exploitation and helping drought-ravaged areas to recover from extreme weather events and become more climate resilient, among other activities.
  5. Associacao Crescimento Limpo. This is a social services organization that is focused on the homeless population of Brazil. Located in a town outside of São Paulo, this organization provides services in the area of housing and job training. One of its most recent projects is a halfway house for people who are struggling with homelessness and drug abuse. Crescimento Limpo has made a positive difference by helping the homeless community in Brazil, with many success stories to prove it. One example of Crescimento Limpo’s success is visible in the story of Wayne. Wayne suffered from drug addiction and eventually sought help. He was later placed in one of Crescimento Limpo´s halfway houses. After recovery, he launched a new initiative with the organization called Caféla, a restaurant that provides jobs for unemployed residents.

Overall, through community initiatives, these five charities operating in Brazil are working to make Brazil a better and safer place. These organizations not only benefit Brazil but also contribute to the reduction of poverty worldwide.

– Timothy Ginter
Photo: Flickr

bringing opportunity to Brazil's favelas
Brazilian favelas, or slum neighborhoods, are Brazil’s historically impoverished and overlooked communities. Typically located on the outskirts of the country’s largest cities, the favelas are especially prevalent in the greater São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro areas. An estimated 1.5 million people live in these favelas, lacking proper infrastructure and water systems. Crime and police killings within favelas are rampant, relative to Brazil’s affluent neighborhoods. In addition to favelas’ dangerous and unhygienic conditions, their low-income residents often lack opportunities for socio-economic growth; this is largely due to the neighborhoods’ marginalized nature. Recently, however, organizations throughout the world have brought resources to help people living in the favelas.

5 NGOs Bringing Opportunity to Brazil’s Favelas

  1. The Favela Foundation funds and collaborates with countless educational initiatives throughout Rochina and Rio de Janeiro’s slums. The foundation recognizes the lack of government action, realizing the importance of grassroots initiatives to assist vulnerable youth. Further, the foundation has played a major role in the success of literacy projects in favelas, launching a teacher training program specifically geared toward children in these areas.
  2. Catalytic Communities, or CatComm, is an NGO based in Rio de Janeiro that is dedicated to empowering favela communities through strategic advocacy, research and education. These efforts are made to ensure that impoverished residents are treated as equal citizens. A recent project, the “Casa Technology Hub,” offers internet access to these communities. The group also launched a website that publicizes the voices of favela residents who are often excluded from mainstream media. By offering funded assistance to these communities, CatComm’s initiatives have been effective in bringing opportunity to Brazil’s favelas.
  3. Community in Action focuses its efforts on education development in Rio de Janeiro, working to elevate the lives of both children and adults in the favelas. Programs include extracurricular sporting events, childcare and vocational training for adults trying to enter the workforce. Since 2004, the NGO has offered these individual and group programs, resulting in countless foreign volunteers serving more than 10,000 people living in favelas.
  4. ActionAid is a UK-based NGO that aims to empower women and girls. The organization has made significant efforts in Brazil’s favelas, recognizing that female inhabitants are a marginalized group within an already marginalized community. They are often the victims of violence and sexual exploitation within favelas, as many young girls resort to prostitution to improve their circumstances. ActionAid provides therapy and educational courses to empower these women and give them the skills they need to enter the workforce. Each of ActionAid’s programs works toward its greater mission of gender equality, one favela at a time.
  5. The Brazil Foundation has raised $53 million for over 625 grassroots organizations throughout hundreds of Brazilian cities, since its founding in 2000. In addition to partnering with and funding NGOs that promote social and economic opportunity in Brazil, the Brazil Foundation offers each organization unique training to ensure the sustainability of its projects. The foundation’s thematic approach categorizes the organizations it supports in categories ranging from socio-economic development to health. This makes certain that the foundation distributes its funding and assistance to diverse groups in an organized and effective manner.

Since the turn of the century, these five organizations have worked tirelessly to bring opportunity to Brazil’s favelas. They aim to counteract the inequality and opportunity gaps between Brazil’s wealthiest citizens and regions, and impoverished favela inhabitants. With about one in every 20 Brazilians living in a favela, the role of these NGOs is growing and becoming more vital to bringing opportunity to Brazil’s favelas.

Breana Stanski

Photo: Flickr