Comunidade dos Pequenos Profetas (CPP) has been serving children and adolescents in extreme social and personal vulnerability for more than 20 years.
The organization serves more than 400 children, adolescents and youth, aged between 7 and 21 years old, who are homeless, abandoned, almost all of them drug users, suffering violence and sexual abuse. About 60% of its public is male and 40% female, and approximately 90% are African-Brazilians. The public assisted by CPP is extremely poor and vulnerable to all kinds of social risk. For example, 83.3% of the public served by CPP is homeless, 46.6% don’t live with their parents, 82.1% practice begging, 72.4% use inhalants, 43.3% are users of crack, 82.8% are smokers of cigarettes, 63.3% smoke marijuana, 80% are users of alcohol, 25% are in a situation of sexual abuse, 31% are out of school. The families of these children and adolescents are low income, 13.3% have no income and 33.3% receive up to ½ minimum salary (approximately R$ 250,00 or U$ 144,00), 22.2% receive Bolsa Familia (money assistance from the government); they have low education, history of drug use and violence at home and live in communities with little urban infrastructure.
CPP’s mission is to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged children and adolescents in urban areas through their reintegration into civil society and working life.
The principles that guide CPP’s actions are to look for and to rescue the citizenship of these youth, developing activities to awaken the critical sense in each child or adolescent. The organization shows them that they’re responsible for their own history, and that they can change it, by interacting with society and claim for a more dignified life.
One of the biggest obstacles for the project to be a complete success is the local society’s opinion about the public that attends CPP. People are afraid of the everyday violence, and because of that they end up accepting, unconsciously, the murders of these young people that happen in the city regularly, which are usually ordered by drug dealers or local extermination groups. Society needs to know that these young people have value, regardless of race, colour or social situation.
We need to sensitize society about the actual situation, show the value of these children and adolescents, and that if there is commitment of government, the authorities and even the society as a whole, it is possible to revert the situation, through educational projects and help them rebuild themselves as citizens.
Therefore, CPP is looking to work towards changing the mindsets of people in society regarding this marginalized target market. They don’t want to publicize the crimes committed, but to tell that it is possible to reverse marginalization through educational projects, as has happened in the organization with good results. Raise awareness that the answer is not killing these young people, but educating them.