The ‘Pastoral’ of the Child / Pastoral da Criança – Brazil

Linked with our presentation of Zilda Arns Neumann – Brazil.

And linked with our presentation on Improving Children’s Environmental Health.

The Pastoral da Criança is regarded as one of the most important community organizations all over the world working with health, nutrition, and children education, since antenatal and to six years of age. It also works stopping preventing violence in the family environment, where the participation of families and communities is a requirement.

The history of the program began in 1982, during a UN meeting in Geneva, when Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns – then the Cardinal Archbishop of the city of São Paulo, state of São Paulo, Brazil, met with Mr. James Grant – at the time the Executive Director of UNICEF, who showed him that the Church could help saving the lives of thousands of children, once they were dying of diseases which could be easily avoided, such as dehydration caused by diarrhea. At that time, the oral rehydration salt was considered one of the greatest advances in medicine. Returning to Brazil, Dom Paulo contacted his sister, the pediatrician and doctor in the public health system, Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, and requested her to develop a plan to make that idea into reality.

In the following year, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) commissioned the task of creating and developing the Pastoral da Criança to Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann and Dom Geraldo Majella Agnelo – then Archbishop of the city of Londrina, state of Paraná, and currently working as the Superior Archbishop of the city of Salvador, Bahia.

In September 1983, The Pastoral da Criança initiated its activities in the city of Florestópolis, in the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. Working in about 33 thousand communities in Brazil and other countries, it has developed its own approach which links faith to life and have the children within a family and community environment as its core. The Pastoral approach builds human solidarity networks to multiply its know-how, knowledge and fraternity. Strengthening the network of volunteers that promotes the empowerment of the poor, the Pastoral searches for favoring the family very liberation, their role in the solution of problems and the capacity of discussing alternative actions in a harmonic and peaceful way.

Statement by Doctor Zilda Arns Neumann, 67, paediatrician and health specialist, national founder and coordinator of the Pastoral of the Child:

“To have peace in the families, in the communities, in the world, it is necessary to invest heavily in projects for human promotion, health and education. It is needed to ensure access to food, to invest in farming, environmental sanitation and to fight unemployment.

It urges to review the huge bleeding resulting from the external debt of the third world countries. It is a true terror that silently haunts millions of children and whole families, the victims of social differences among nations and social ranks in many countries. It would be much better and economically cleverer if the external debt was invested in social projects intended to promote social inclusion. Exclusion and unfair opportunities generate violence, drug traffic and wars.

The world shall never be in peace while there is hunger and social exclusion, while we cultivate a culture that stimulates violence, intolerance, hate, competition, and the idea of a nation’s or race’s superiority. Everyone shall be aware that education for the peace demands investment and generates much better results than wars, which only destroys and bear hate.

Children are the seed for peace or violence in the future, depending on how they are cared and stimulated. Thus, their family and community environment shall be seen as the greatest seeder for the construction of a fairer and more fraternal world, a world to serve life and hope.”

links for other languages:

Português: Jornal da UDP; and chat terra; and e-educacional; and Prêmio Claudia; and SciELO Brazil; and Zilda Arnd Neumann. pdf.





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