Ahimsa is glad to share the presentation of the activities of Pastoral da Criança, a Brazilian faith-inspired organization:
The coronavirus pandemic showed us how important it is for people to unite to fight and prevent disease. In this respect, the community has a fundamental role, which is social mobilization.
Organizing the community, checking which problems are common and evaluating how to solve them is something very practical and that can solve situations that impact and bring problems in the life of everyone in the community. A very important point, which is the right of the community, is participation in the various public policy councils, such as the municipal health, social assistance, child and adolescent rights council, among others.
They act as the voice of the community in relation to the problems faced and a formal opportunity to demand the authorities to arrive at the best solution. After all, it is the role of every citizen to help prevent disease, focus on preventive health and also fight for the rights: yours and the community.
“That all children may have life and have it in abundance” (Jn 10, 10). It is for this reason that the Pastoral da Criança works throughout Brazil, accompanying more than 880 thousand children, 53 thousand pregnant women, from 730 thousand families, ensuring care from birth and throughout the early childhood. For this to happen, more than 153,000 volunteers are mobilized, 83,000 of whom are leaders. Together, they take the pastoral mission to 3,530 municipalities and 28 communities
In addition, it is present in 10 other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia: Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Peru, Philippines, Mozambique, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela. The community strategy of Pastoral da Criança Internacional is similar to that of Brazil, which is based on the sharing of fraternal solidarity and knowledge, seeking to promote peace and strengthen the role of people living in poor communities.
Those happen because of the unremitting work of Dr Zilda and the dedication of each of the leaders and volunteers, the history of Brazil in the last 35 years has been marked by the victory of life against the premature death of children and pregnant women.
Together, leaders and volunteers accomplish much more than important basic and complementary actions. In practice, they are the daily exercise of solidarity, friendship and love of neighbour. In the coexistence with the community, in addition to sharing knowledge about health, nutrition, education and citizenship, there is donations of time, listening and understanding of the knowledge of others, the differences and peculiarities of each location. Sometimes the leaders and volunteers of Pastoral da Criança are the only ones who enter homes that are difficult to access and build a relationship of trust with their families that is taken for life. In other cases, they mobilize neighbours to draw the attention of authorities and enforce the rights of children and pregnant women in that community, or to resolve a situation of difficulty.
Innovation for bigger impact
To further improve this work, the Pastoral da Criança developed the Home Visiting and Nutrition application, which, in addition to assisting our volunteering in monitoring families, also has a communication module between volunteers, accompanied families, coordinators and multipliers. As a result, more people are receiving the best and most relevant information possible and quickly.
We are gradually moving from paper forms to AppVisita (application for Android phones). In this application, this year, we monitored 230,000 children, from 2,335 municipalities, with a series of health, nutrition, education, child development and citizenship indicators. In addition, in the App we have a message chat that can create conversations with any filters (municipality, age of the leader, children’s situation …) and distance education in child development, coronavirus, toys and games, healthy eating, among others. Today, 13,236 people are undergoing e-training in 2,170 municipalities.
One of the highlights of the App Home Visiting App is the e-training in Toys and Play. The families can have access to many interesting and healthy ideas to do with children. With the help of this material, it is possible to organize joyful moments, various games and encourage the creation of toys from recycled materials and others that we have at home.
With great pride, we receive information every day from our pastoral agents visiting the neediest, especially now that, as a result of the pandemic, they face hunger and other difficulties because they are unable to work. For this reason, we sympathize with volunteers from all over the world who are often the only hope for many families, and we also commit to changing this world so that it is more just and fraternal.
We are sure that the dedication of the Pastoral da Criança volunteers has helped to bring about a change in mentality in Brazil about childcare and the communities have discovered its transforming strength, so we would like to bring more and more people to our good news through AppVisita Domiciliar, which is made for everyone. Join us in this network and help us bring Life and Life in Abundance to all poor children and families in the world.
* Information from the Pastoral da Criança Information System, 4th quarter 2019.