Our work in Brazil

A town in Brazil
All our youth initiatives in Brazil have one thing in common, namely that they aim for sustainable structural change. They support young people in urban areas who are making a stand against violence. They support youth groups in rural areas that are creating prospects for a sustainable life in the countryside with measures to protect the environment and an ecological approach to agriculture. We encourage young people in both urban and rural locations to get involved with committees and advisory councils, to practice networking, and to formulate constructive proposals for implementing policies.
Brazil is a country with one of the greatest gulfs between rich and poor. Black people and native Indians in particular are severely affected by poverty and are excluded from important areas including education, the employment market and good healthcare. Young people in Brazil frequently fall victim to acts of violence. Murder is the most common cause of death amongst young black men in slum areas. What's more, in the heavily monopolised media black youths are stigmatised as perpetrators. The work carried out by the youth groups is therefore extremely important since they are campaigning to prevent violence. Their involvement includes psycho-social and cultural work with those affected by violence, as well as communication and lobbying.
Prospects for young people in rural areas
Unjust land distribution is a long-term problem in Brazil. Around 80 percent of all the fertile land is owned by large landowners. The government supports intensive crop spraying and a farming industry that focuses on the export market to such an extent that families with small farms, who produce most of the food consumed in Brazil, are forced to fight for survival. Young people in particular cannot see any kind of future on the land, and they migrate to the city. There, they frequently end up in slum areas or slave away on plantations in return for starvation wages. Ecological farming practices offer an alternative that is not only sustainable and healthy but also lucrative, allowing young people to develop the prospect of a worthwhile life living from the land. They are supported in this by partner organisations of terre des hommes schweiz.
Example: a tree nursery
Our partner organisation, Centro Sabiá, provides children living in rural locations with advice on environmental protection issues and ecological methods of farming. The young people form groups for developing their own projects, e.g. sapling projects. The team from Centro Sabiá assists young people with planning and with securing public funding, for instance for the installation of large water tanks for irrigation purposes. For a number of years now, a group of young people has been producing saplings for sale, for the revitalisation of river courses, and for the reforestation of degraded areas. These young people have so far succeeded in reforesting 20 hectares of land.
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Help for young people from young people.

In all its work in every single country it is involved in, terre des hommes schweiz relies on the strengths of young people. That is why the training programme Youth2Youth has been developed and is growing constantly.