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Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in both area and population; it borders every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Located in eastern South America, Brazil has an Atlantic coastline of more than 4,600 miles.

  • Population: 198,656,000
  • Life Expectancy: 74 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 97%
  • School Enrollment: 95%
  • Land Mass: 3,287,612 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 90%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 14/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 11,630

Facts about Brazil

The proximity of events like the World Cup and the Olympics, both of which are being held in Brazil, has prompted dialogue about the use of public resources and the need for social control over spending on construction of stadiums and infrastructure. This has caused some protests and demonstrations to occur across the country.

Income distribution among Brazilians is extremely uneven; as of 2010, the country has the 10th highest income inequality in the world.

While Brazil has a universal healthcare system, corruption and poor management continue to prevent many Brazilians — especially those struggling with poverty — from receiving adequate care.

There is free primary-level education, but it is often of low quality and needs to be better evaluated and revised.

In rural areas, families often lack safe water, sanitation, and health services. In more urban areas, the issues of street children, child prostitution, violence, and drug abuse are widespread.

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Progress in Brazil

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Trained community leaders and educators about child rights and encouraged young people to express their views at community forums.

  • Provided training courses, craftsmanship workshops, and apprenticeship opportunities for young adults.

  • Increased income by offering families training and workshops on product management to help them sell their goods in local markets.

  • Encouraged children to stay in school by incorporating arts and sports activities into curriculum and working with parents to support their children’s education.

  • Offered workshops for educators and school principals on ways to improve children’s reading, writing and math skills.

  • Taught families about proper nutrition for children, and helped them cultivate vegetable gardens in their backyards.

  • Formed community health councils to reduce the rate of prevalent diseases by educating families, and making sure children receive immunizations.

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    World Vision in Brazil Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Brazil to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 35,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Brazil. Highlights include:

    • Improving healthcare access for women, children, and their surrounding communities.
    • Providing health services to children and their families along the Amazon River regions, with partners such as local churches and the ministry of health.
    • Working against child labor by creating programs to support children from 5 to 11 years old.
    • Training teachers to provide better quality education for children.
    • Helping young mothers living on the street gain access to medical care, social services, health education, and vocational training.
    • Educating youth on self-protection by setting up workshops on security-related topics.

    World Vision History in Brazil

    In 1961, World Vision began working in Brazil through child sponsorship at the Nosso Lar children’s boarding home in São Paulo. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Funding orphanages during the 1960s.
    • Providing food and medical care to children and expectant mothers, offering healthcare classes, and helping families affected by drought to resettle in the 1970s.
    • Distributing supplementary water and food to families affected by drought during the early 1980s.
    • Improving a shelter for people living with HIV and AIDS and offering skills training for illiterate and unemployed women during the late 1980s.
    • Providing relief supplies to people affected by natural disasters since the 1990s.
    • Encouraging economic growth in communities through microloans and business training since the 1990s and into the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in both area and population; it borders every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Located in eastern South America, Brazil has an Atlantic coastline of more than 4,600 miles.

    The diverse climate includes hot rainforests, arid plateaus, and temperate mountains with snowfall. Water flows through tributaries to the Amazon River, which carries one-fifth of the world’s volume of fresh water.

    Natural resources include gold, iron ore, nickel, platinum, tin, petroleum, hydropower, and timber. Brazil is a major producer of coffee and soybeans.

    The people of Brazil are culturally and racially diverse, tracing their roots to Portuguese colonists, African slaves, and indigenous tribes. More than half of Brazilians are of European descent, while nearly 40 percent are a mixture of white, black, and Amerindian. The official language is Portuguese, but Brazilians may also speak Italian, German, Japanese, and English.

    Brazilians value their diverse culture, as well as their ability to find inventive solutions to problems.


    Brazil is the only Latin American country that derives its language and culture from Portugal, which began colonization of the area in 1532. After Brazil declared independence in 1822, an empire governed the region until 1889 when an era of military rule began.

    A succession of civilian presidents ruled in the 20th century until another military administration took over. In 1985, the military government stepped down amid several protests. A new constitution went into effect in 1988, reestablishing democracy and providing for a directly elected president.

    Recent presidents have focused on industrial and agricultural development. Brazil’s wide range of natural resources and a large workforce continue to encourage economic growth in the 21st century.

    Prayer Requests for Brazil

    • For clean, abundant water sources to improve children’s lives and health.
    • For people recovering from floods and other natural disasters.
    • For continued economic growth and stability so poverty rates will decrease.