Presentation on theme: "In our April 4 issue, you’ll read about Brazil. This South American country has a growing economy."— Presentation transcript:
In our April 4 issue, you’ll read about Brazil. This South American country has a growing economy.
But not everyone is sharing in the wealth. Brazil has a population of 193 million, many of whom live on less than $2 a day. Brazil, Russia, India, and China are among the so-called BRIC countries. These four nations are seen as the world’s most powerful emerging economies.
Beca (in yellow) is shown with her family outside their home. They live in the city of Fortaleza in a favela, the Brazilian word for slum. Such areas are often crowded and dangerous. “You shouldn’t walk alone,” Beca says, “especially at night.”
Beca and her family live in a three-room shack made from used brick and other discarded materials. Her parents work at a nearby beach that’s popular with tourists. Her mother is a massage therapist, and her stepfather sells snacks. When the weather is bad, they can’t work and don’t make any money.
After school, Beca attends Clica Maravilha, a community center in her neighborhood, Comunidade dos Cocos. At Clica, students can get a nutritious meal and work on art projects together. Beca is learning photography. She does pinhole photography with a camera that she made out of a tin can and a shoebox.
The time Beca spends at the community center, she says, gives her and other kids “confidence in ourselves, teaches us skills, and helps us to think about finding work.” It also provides a respite from the streets, she says. “When you go there, no one has to worry about violence.”
Brazil is planning to host the 2014 World Cup soccer matches and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The government is now taking steps to prepare for these events, including building arenas to host the competitions. Efforts are also underway to improve life in the favelas, where gangs and drug cartels have brought violence and misery to the streets.
The inequality between rich and poor in Brazil has created a great deal of social tension. Many people in the favelas feel forgotten. In neighborhoods like Beca’s, government services are unreliable. Electricity is limited. So are running water, garbage collection, and mail delivery. Beca’s parents, like many others in the favelas, struggle to provide life’s necessities for their children. Here, the family enjoys a meal together.
Under the presidency of Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva (2002-2010), 20 million Brazilians were able to escape extreme poverty. Millions more became part of the middle class. Beca will probably have to work to help support her family after high school. She wishes the government would make a college education free for kids like her. She wants to become a teacher.