Northeastern Urban Region

  • Homes of poor families in Fortaleza and Recife are often just small shelters made of whatever scrap materials can be found. Homes of poor families in Fortaleza and Recife are often just small shelters made of whatever scrap materials can be found.
  • Sponsored children's physical, educational and spiritual needs are met, and they are also encouraged to develop and express their creativity. Group of smiling children
  • It is a special day when sponsored children receive their very own toothbrushes so they can brush regularly. Group of boys holding up their toothbrushes
  • The beautiful coastline and colonial architecture of Brazil's northeast cities mask communities where fear of violence is pervasive. Landscape of Brazil's coastline
  • Children of the communities served by Compassion in Brazil's northeast urban region face many obstacles as a result of extreme poverty. Children walking down a street
  • Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future. Children holding hands and praying
  • Sponsored children regularly write to their sponsors. And they are so encouraged when they receive letters back from their sponsors. A student with letters from her sponsor




Roman Catholic


A Glimpse of Poverty in Northeastern Urban Brazil

Poverty is prevalent in the urban centers of Fortaleza and Recife, where most of Compassion’s northeastern child development centers are located.

Boys Playing Soccer
  • About one-third of Fortaleza’s 2.3 million residents live in the city’s crowded slums.
  • In Recife, 46 percent of its 1.5 million residents are slum dwellers.
  • Drug trafficking, prostitution, and alcohol abuse are serious, pervasive problems.
  • Unemployment is rampant.
  • Eighteen percent of families live on the equivalent of a little more than $2 per day.
  • Some residents have turned to rummaging through trash from the narrow, dirty streets to make a few cents.
Issues and Concerns
  • Families are large, but homes are small and cramped. These are typically dirty, lacking such basics as adequate sanitation and ventilation.
  • Despairing adults often turn to alcohol and drug abuse, spending the family’s meager income on these addictions.
  • Child abuse is common.
  • Malnutrition is also a problem for poor families in Fortaleza and Recife. An estimated 54 percent of all Brazilians who suffer from serious food shortages (about 7.2 million) live in the northeastern states.
Local Needs and Challenges

Family dysfunction

Families in this region are typically broken and dysfunctional. Children suffer from sexual abuse, domestic violence and low self-esteem.


Slum houses are precariously constructed, made of cardboard or plywood. Even the houses that are built with bricks are often unstable and many have no basic sanitation.


Because of high unemployment, parents cannot adequately feed their children. Many parents leave home to seek jobs in other locations, never to return.

Substance abuse

Alcoholism and drug abuse are big problems as well. One of the biggest concerns is keeping young people from getting involved in local drug trafficking activities.

Prayer Requests
  • for children living in areas affected by drought, where it is difficult to avoid hygiene-related illness.
  • for more jobs throughout the region. Unemployment causes many parents to abandon their families for better opportunities elsewhere.
  • for the children’s education. Schools in this region are poor, and it is up to Compassion to bridge the gap.