Friday, 3 June 2011

Brazil launches welfare scheme to eradicate poverty

The Brazilian government has launched a welfare scheme to eradicate poverty by 2014. The initiative aims to utilise the current programme in place, credited with helping 20 million Brazilians climb-out of poverty over the past decade.

The country's President Dilama Rousseff said the scheme was her government's key priority. Brazil's rapid economic development has increased the country's living standards, but aroung 16 million people still live in severe poverty on less than 70 reais a month.

Speaking to the BBC, Brazil's Social Development Minister Tereza Campello, said: “A country that has grown like Brazil can't be content with just having a big social programme like the Family Grant.”

The Family Grant programme pays up to 242 reais a month, to mothers, depending on their income and number of children, to ensure their children attend school and are vaccinated. The aim of the Brasil Sem Miseria (Brazil Without Poverty) scheme is to expand this programme as well as the country's health and education initiatives, and invest more money into the country's poorest regions.

Campello said the government was going to ensure that the poor have access to all the programmes. She added: "And for that we need to change the mindset that it is up to a poor person to come to the state, and ensure that the state reaches out to the poor person…"We want to eradicate extreme poverty by 2014 and make Brazil the first developing country to achieve the first of the UN's Millennium Development Goals.”

Sources: BBC News, AFP, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Brazil, please see Brazil Focus.

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