Besides the grinding poverty that assails abandoned children in Salvador, they also become prey to the interests of the organizations who should be helping them. Readers of this blog are familiar with the little Minha vó Flor orphanage a few blocks away from the ICBIE; we have helped them in every way possible for the last four years, even finding them an anonymous donor in Switzerland who provided funds for a restructuring of their building. Well, the authorities have more or less closed it down, on the grounds that its personnel was not sufficiently qualified to carry out proper education, recreation and hygiene. Paradoxically, the closing set off a big battle between many recently formed NGOs, who fought over the fifty children that had to be reassigned, all eager to profit from the government funds that are allocated for each child, as a part of a racket between corrupt NGOs and politicians. Only about a dozen of the oldest kids now remain at vó Flor, and they still participate in appropriate ICBIE activities, such as the Italian lunch that we’ve been holding on Saturdays.
The absence of younger children at ICBIE activities was short lived, because a new opportunity quickly appeared, this time with another group, ABEAC (Associação Beneficiente Educação Arte e Cidadania), active throughout the Itapagipe peninsula, with a center in Ribeira, located on Rua da Penha, behind the famous ice cream shop, where thirty homeless families occupy a shabby building that is divided into tiny living quarters. ABEAC assists them to improve their living conditions, health, culture, job training and education.
ABEAC is assisted by another Italian NGO, APA (Accademia Psicologia Applicata), and their situation is vividly described here (in Italian).
To jumpstart ICBIE’s new partnership, our resident head artist Júlio Costa has organized a theater performance which is taking place TODAY. He will be sending us news in the coming days.