Opinions: how to help poor Brazilians?

Hello fellow expats,

I think we'll all agree that Brazil is a pretty unequal country.

What are some things an expat like me can do in Brazil to help people here who weren't born with as many privileges?

I'm from a rich european country. The poverty I see here, while far from the worst in Brazil, is still honestly utterly alien to me. I'd like to know if I can help one or two of these people without 1. being counterproductive, insensitive, a 'voluntourist' and 2. putting myself in danger.

Do I teach some kids English? Share my dinner with a beggar? Donate/volunteer for a local initiative? Buy a homeless guy a tent? Become their friend? (How?) Pay them to cook/clean/teach me Portuguese? Do I just learn to ignore it?

All opinions welcome! I'm clueless in this area.

(BTW: I earn more than I need and I want to stay here a few years.)

Free training in practical things for the ones that want it,

Very good question!

Poverty in Brazil goes back a very long time. It is due, I believe, to the racism that exists in countries which were invaded and taken over by European nations who brought in slaves as well as enslaving the indigenous peoples. With that comes a modern society in which the wealth and privilege is controlled by the master race (white Europeans in the case of Brazil).

Another problem is that, in some countries, those who are victimized by it, accept it as a fact of life.

The answers are many. First of all, what does a caring individual, like yourself do? Well, you have made some very good comments. When encountering a hungry person, give them food, shelter or whatever, etc., etc. It all helps.

On a larger scale, it requires government action. The previous president, Lula, I believe, stared providing what is referred to as minimum wage pensions to people once they reached a certain age. In addition, he provided small stipends to parents who send their children to school.

As political leaders change, programs might change, as well. So there is always the chance of falling back to a society run by the privileged few who could care less about the poverty and social inequities which their selfishness causes.

This type of things has existed forever. It's not unique to our times. The rich, oligarchs and plutocrats, are not satisfied with having a lot of money, they want ALL the money and that largely comes from keeping others very, very poor.

In a democracy, it takes leaders who are dedicated to the poor and working class. We've had them here in the U.S. The only problem is that there are leaders who bend to the desires of the super rich and implement programs which harm the middle class for the purpose of making the masses poor for the benefit of the rich and powerful. A few of the things on the agenda here in America is to destroy Social Security and Medicare. But don't expect the corporate Media here, also owned and controlled by the filthy rich, to level with the people.

Good luck!

with out the filthy rich, you would not have any Medicines, its down to the filthy rich, not wanting to be ill or die, that keeps research going,
the poor want everything for nothing,
Its the socialist that keep socislist countrys poor

Thanks for the responses spanishpete and ndfansince53! The problems and causes are complicated and I have no illusions of fixing them. I was wondering what I can realistically do to help some people small scale.

I'm glad you like the ideas I listed ndfansince53, I was just brainstorming and guessed some of them might be risky or counterproductive. But I'll give some of them a try.

I like your idea of offering free training in something practical for people who want it spanishpete. I think I could teach English, maybe even computer programming. I'll have to think about how to find the right students for this.

Hi there abart
i think you mist the point about practical point i was talking about,
most of the poor in Brazil dont have any use with englisn let alone anyone to talk to,
most dont have computers to program,
they need simple things, like brick laying, mixing concrete, blumbing .woodworking, hairdressing, makeup, these are simple skills, that with a little help and training, will earn them money,

Great point! Thanks spanishpete, that's a very useful insight. I unfortunately don't have any of those skills, certainly not more than locals. So maybe my money would be more valuable to them.

i bet they would love your money, but no,
the poor dont need money, they need to be shown how to make there own money
and how to keep there own money, and not party it away
they need to know how to save there money, and not wast it on phones and TV
money is like blood, hard to keep in and very easy to leak out

your hearts in the right place
you need to learn a simpal trade that you can teach them, thats the easy way of helping the poor

Ah yeah, I was thinking more in the direction of buying someone a meal or hiring someone for some odd jobs.

No, it's not the filthy rich who are the backbone of a strong economy. It's a large and prosperous middle class like we had in the US beginning in the 1930's and which continued to grow through the 1970's. I know what I'm talking about. I was the 10th and last child from a poor working class family. My dad was a coal-miner from Pennsylvania. I was born in 1943. I worked summer jobs painting houses, digging ditches, working in factories, etc. to earn enough money to pay for college - no loans. College was reasonably priced then.

I majored in a foreign language and ended up in the international department of a large insurance company, was in charge of underwriting for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, traveled extensively and lived in Italy on a long-term assignment. Guess what! I made a decent salary and spent money along with millions of others from my generation who had similar opportunities, opportunities which no longer exist on the same level. (I'm retired now)

And another thing, I worked very hard to get what I had, but I recognize I was born during a golden age. What I don't do is to throw stones at those less fortunate than I have been and accuse them of being lazy. I thank God everyday that I lived when I did.

There are 310 million people living in the US. An economy is healthy when those 310 million have well-paying jobs. The oligarchs and plutocrats hoard money. They don't spend enough to keep and economy buzzing.

If you want to help, host a kid from an orphanage. One weekend a month or holidays. We have many friends that do it. These kids usually don't want material things. Just to spend time as part of the family. We just spent the weekend with friends who had a 14 year old boy with them. They have hosted him for few years and he is now part of their family. They assist him with small things here and there. He wants to quit school now but they are trying to keep him in. It's a reality that he doesn't have many opportunities. They are paying for him to become a squash player in hopes he can teach it to make money. This kid now lives back with his family but it's rough. His dad collects trash for a living. This kid will also walk several miles to their house just to get a meal once in awhile. My two sons played all weekend with him and I think it helps them too. For once thing charity and to help them realize their life is wonderful. We are now in a place where we want to help an orphan too. Hopefully we find a kid that we can help too. Not throw money at them but a place they can come and stay. Have fun and also eat meals with us.

Good points! And this type of things requires the right kind of political leadership similar to what the U.S. experienced in the 1930's and 40's thanks to Franklin Roosevelt, followed by the Kennedy's and Jimmy Carter. Then the oligarchs bought the country and now run everything.

It is now legal in he U.S. thanks to a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United which allows very wealthy people to buy politicians when the Court ruled that there are no more limits on how much money someone can give a politician. Until then it was illegal. It was a crime to give over a certain very reasonably low amount.

And guess what! These billionaires are not donating this money for the benefit of the working class.

Thanks a lot CraigF, that's a great idea I hadn't considered! That sounds like a perfect way to help. I'm glad to hear that this is an option that's available. I will try to make sure I can be around to help them for long enough and explore this option in my area.

CraigF, great stuff really. This is something I would look at.
What I am doing with my wife is less ambitious and quite simple: we simply hear from my in law familly, friends, colleagues or people leaving in our condo of someone in great need or some charity operations. We give sometimes a cesta basica or basic products like milk for children.  We give used toys/children clothes to some charity too (which is suprisingly not commun in Brazil).
If you don't know yet people, you can try the nearest church and you will find charity operations.
And indeed never give money, so product and your time/love/dedication.


Thanks, it's an awesome deal! We also do the cloths to charity (youngest just out grew 4t's) and there is a feed the homeless event every Thursday night my wife has gone to. It's called  bread for the people. Yeah we don't give money very much. Time, donations and love is the way to go. I would do the church thing if it was truly a non-profit organization.

My plans are to share the language of English/ Americano with the young people for all in my soon to be new home want to learn a little english/americano. My work will consist  of helping the children for they are the future of Brasil for they have little to no direction and will find themselves in trouble. I found the children would gather in front of the house as the kites are there thing and as they learn english/ americano they also help me with portugese and god knows I need all the help I can get. I will try to volunteer with the schools for basic english and help where I can for Brasil is in a  deep recession and anything helps the children enjoy being in the company of foreigners and all want a praise and recognition. I do not have a lot but there is no reason for hunger or homelessness so my work will be helping the poor, the sick and the shut in. I had read that in certain states the school lunch program had been cut so if one is hungry one cannot focus for the pain of being famished for if a person is fed they have the energy to study,walk to work and play. It is not complex yet one cannot throw money at the problem the help must come from the heart and mind for one cannot be a soft touch. Money only puts one in danger in Brasil. I have enough to share with the homeless and hungry as I only have kind words for the alcoholic and the drug addict and a meal and maybe clothing. I read the person and do what I can for I provide for my lady.👄 and help with her family and our needs are taken care of food and shelter. My lady.👄 feels the greatest thing affecting Brasilians in the Northeast is lack of Education for if one learns to read one can accomplish much for everything is written even how to pick up women (kkkkk)/lol.  When I was there we were able to purchase a bag of staples for some friends near the Amazon and they invited friends to share the dry goods we bought with us and just the joy of seeing people who live simply sharing does the heart good I also plan on each visit to the Amazon to all ways bring the bag of staples to see the smiles and share a beer and life is good. I want to keep it simple and share my knowledge and time. Thanks all for those that know I can go on a Rant yet this is a Rave for all who replied I applaud you and thanks for the enlightenment for I see everyone's heart and mind is in the right place for these are not acts of pity they are acts of charity and we all have good intentions. I have a little friend he just turned 13 and he is being full of his self and I can't wait to return to put him on track for his mom works 2 jobs he is acting out in school and if he's not careful he will find his self in trouble for he is protected by his age and if he is not corrected now he will find the law later in life. I plan to give as I said to the youth while they are approachable and place empasis on Education for a Educated Brasil will be a Better Brasil. We also have a young lady who lives in one of the favelas who my lady.👄 calls her daughter so my lady.👄 knows my heart and we take care of her small needs and it's amazing how much love we recieve in return and we know whatever we give will be used wisely and shared with all.

Very well said :thanks:

Well said all. I'm learning the ways how to help society to make it better place for all class. Cheers ;)

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