Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rights of The Child: Brazil tackles seemingly insurmountable child poverty

Xinhua reports Brazil has been working very hard to surmount the seemingly insurmountable -- child poverty.

At the heart of Brazilian authorities' efforts is a guarantee on the social rights of the child, to ensure that hereditary social inequality bears down less and less upon children, Arlete Sampaio, executive secretary of the Brazilian ministry in charge of social development and fight against hunger, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Though, according to UNICEF, 45 percent of Brazilian children (under 17 years of age) live in poverty and one out of eight of all Brazilian children live on the streets, the country has so far managed, through special programs, to feed three meals a day to 93percent of Brazilian children and to enroll 80 percent of children aged between four and six in nurseries, said Sampaio

However, despite major progress compared with a decade ago, the authorities still face many challenges.

Sampaio explained that government efforts had been centered on children, with programs such as the Bolsa Familia.

The program, initiated by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, provides a minimum allowance to families that guarantee food, schooling and health care for their children.

The benefits of the Bolsa Familia program have reached 12.4 million poor families, comprising 5.6 million children aged 0-6, 14 million children aged 7-15 and 1.2 million children aged 16-17.

"The children in these beneficiary families are required to meet the requirement of 80-percent school attendance and health care," said Sampaio.

According to Sampaio, Brazil instituted the country's child statute in 1990 to better implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for children.

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