A BRAZILIAN student from the city’s university has urged people to back an international campaign to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
The ‘It’s A Penalty’ campaign, which has been led by three charities, was set up in a bid to raise awareness of the problems, which continue to blight Brazil, during the FIFA World Cup.
A team of six University of Worcester lecturers and students have already been to the South American country to publicise the work of the charities and now Carolina Simon, who has been studying at the university for the last five months, has pledged her support to the campaign.
“The fact that people from the other side of the world are trying to do something about Brazil’s problems might give people a wake-up call,” she said.
“Most people in Brazil do care, but our hands are tied – we don’t have the money to do as much as we’d like to do. We need cash to pay the bills, to pay for food for the children and to pay for the teachers.
“That’s why support from people in the UK or elsewhere would be such a huge help for us and for these children.”
Carolina said she has gained a greater understanding of what goes on in her country having spent more than 15 years as a volunteer for Emmanuel Group of Fraternity. The group has seen her distribute medication and food to local children on streets of Sao Paulo, while also trying to educate them.
“Every Saturday, we have around 300 children come in from the local community,” Carolina said. “We play with them, sing with them and try to teach them how to be good people and stay away from things like drugs and crime.
“This is a major problem in Brazil. Sao Paulo is one of the wealthiest cities in the country, but many people are caught in a cycle that we need to break.
“Parents are addicted to drugs or to alcohol, so their children don’t know the value of work or of education, and they don’t study and end up going the same way as their parents.
“I’m really lucky to have my mother, who is caring and supportive, so I recognise this and I really want to help kids with parents who don’t care.”
For more information visit www.itsapenalty.com.