“How can someone who doesn't have enough to eat be capable of thinking about the state of the World?”
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A group of mothers from a shantytown who are also members of CIAF (Integrated Aid Centre for Families) have experience of this kind of prejudice. By getting together to look at the Millennium Development Goals, they have been able for the first time to voice their desire that things should change in education, healthcare and quality of life. And the fact that they have been able to do so has given them a much more positive view of themselves.

Carla says that all children and teenagers should go to school and receive vocational training to prepare them for the job market. The government should be more active. As for women's health, there is a need for more medical attention during pregnancy and check-ups: they need to eat better, and those working in hospitals and health centres should be more helpful!

Adriana feels that workers should be paid more so that they can live with dignity. At school, pupils should only move up to the next class if they are able to read and write. And as for healthcare, “The quality of health centres is very poor. There are not enough doctors to go around, and both receptionists and physicians are very unpleasant. The wait between appointments is too long.”

Rosilaine thinks better schools are needed, as well as jobs, houses and an effective health system. “I am trying to change things at home: I keep an eye on my family. I urge them to work, to study, to be good caring citizens, to set an example. It isn't easy, but I try!”

Valéria believes that proper land reform is the first step. Very poor families need to be taken care of: instead of giving them fish, give them a fishing rod and an opportunity to go fishing. This way, families will be able to develop together and parents will be able to help their children. As for equal rights for women, this should start in childhood, between brothers and sisters.

Solange adds that the government should invest in industry, thus creating jobs. To fight AIDS and other illnesses: condoms, screenings, more free medication and medical care.

Aline, Eliete and Raiane like the others , all expressed their hopes for younger generations as well as the environment: “Trees should be respected and cultivated. Rivers should not be polluted. We should also keep our streets clean, and stop wasting water and energy”. The whole group thinks this will be achieved by investing in infrastructures for sewage, for recycling...

WILSON O., CIAF, BRAZIL