While Brazil may have one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, those living in the north are being left behind. See how Compassion is refocusing its work to reach the poorest children and families in Brazil.
An Interview with Susete Cardodo, Compassion Brazil Country Director
Why has Compassion focused on expanding the ministry into the northeast region of Brazil?
Brazil is a country with good resources, strong economy, especially in the south and southeast of Brazil. On the other hand, in the north and the northeast, we have very low human develop index, low industries and less opportunity for people in general but also for the poor. Because of that we made a decision in 2009 to create a strategy that we call expansion strategy, focusing on the northeast of Brazil because the northeast concentrates 60 percent of the poorest people in Brazil.
Why is poverty so elevated in northeast Brazil?
They lack infrastructure, they lack basic sanitation, they lack everything — and also information. For example, mothers don’t get the exams while they are [in] pregnancy, children don’t know how to wash their hands, so simple things we do in the south and southeast of Brazil, they don’t in the northeast of Brazil.
In looking to the future in the next few years, how do you see Compassion continuing its ministry expansion?
Within a few years, Compassion’s ministry will be more than half in the northeast. We are planning to open 30 [centers] in the northeast each year.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in northeast Brazil?
We can feel the spiritual battle there. The families sometimes attack the [centers] because they are preaching the gospel to children. So the pastors pray together. They are helping the children to know God.