Emergency Family Assistance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Though our focus at Cause & Affect has been assisting pre-existing non-profits, in some cases, we encounter particular individuals and families in such dire need that we feel obliged to help. While visiting Vila Cruzieros, one of Rio de Janeiro's most destitute favela shanty-towns, we were introduced to Dona Rosangelina, a single mother of three who does not have the resources to feed her children. Since her documents were destroyed, she has not been eligible to receive even the most basic government assistance. Our first step was taking her to get replacement documents, so she will start receiving help in two months. But until then, it is imperative to help this family with the most basic necessities.

Watch Field Report

Dona Rosangelina earns only $50 a month ironing clothes, hardly enough to feed a family of four. With the assistance of our friend Tim Shirk, we jumped into action. Our next step was taking them to the supermarket to purchase food to fill their nearly-empty refrigerator. It is hard to believe that for most of her children's lives, this mother has NEVER been able to buy items we take for granted like fresh fruit or meat. Under normal circumstances, Rosangelina enters the supermarket with $7/week. Try feeding four hungry mouths with that! Over the course of two months, we have purchased $300 worth of food for the family. The kids, who were on the verge of malnutrition, now find it easier to concentrate in school and once their government assistance kicks in, the family will be able to maintain a more healthy diet.

In addition to food, we have provided some small improvements to help the family at large, such as a fan to ease the tropical heat and a used stove ($200) to allow the family to cook meals. We are also installing a showerhead ($100), so the family does not have to wash themselves out of a bucket. As you can see from the video, the family is overjoyed to receive this emergency assistance that seemed to fall from the sky at the most crucial moment. Cause & Affect will be assisting more families facing especially desperate situations. IN this case, Tim Shirk stepped forward to contribute the money needed to keep this family from the brink; there are so many families faced with similar predicaments, so we can earmark donationse to be directed to other families, which is a great way to pair more better-off families with some of those needing emergency assistance.

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