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World of Difference

Welcome to Brazil where Tearfund is transforming lives through the provision of clean, fresh water.

Photo of Edna with her daughter Vitoria
Brazil Stamp
Brazil Stamp

Welcome Bem-vindo Bem-vindo ( English translation ) ( Portuguese )


You've arrived in Brazil, which is so large it borders every country in South America except Chile and Ecuador.

Come with us and see a World of Difference in the State of Paraíba, where Tearfund's partners are transforming lives through the provision of clean, fresh water.

World map showing location of Brazil - zoomed out

Where is Brazil?

Brazil is a country located on the east coast of South America that borders Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia,  Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Brazil in numbers

Transforming lives in Paraíba state

Tearfund mainly works in the semi-arid region in northern Brazil, where half of families live in poverty and lack of water is a huge concern. This area has just had its first rains after seven years of drought and there is little government support.

Our partner Ação Evangélica/Evangelical Action Brazil (ACEV) is providing rural communities with fresh water sources. These are even more essential for handwashing because of the current coronavirus pandemic.

Photo of Rita watering the community garden in Sítio Glória, Paraíba State, Brazil

Rita watering the community garden in Sítio Glória, Paraíba State, Brazil

How a community came together, and the water flowed

Pipes and parties

Edna Maria da Silva at the top of Fonseca community by the community well

Edna Maria da Silva at the top of Fonseca community by the community well.

Illustrative stamp - river

Edna Maria da Silva, 33, can trace her ancestry back to the Quilombola people. That means she is descended from Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from plantations in the 18th and 19th centuries.

But her family was still trapped in bondage because of a lack of water in her home village, Comunidade Quilombola Fonseca. Fetching water for her three children used to take Edna the whole day.

‘We would wake up early,’ she says, ‘and take our donkey to Catole [the nearest water source 7km away]’. In Catole they would eat and wash a bundle of clothes before heading home to sleep. ‘We only came back at night. Those were suffering times.’

As a result, Edna's children would miss out on school. It was a tough life. ‘But the church came up with a solution,’ she says. ‘It was a blessing...’

Photo of Edna using water from the tank

Edna's life has been transformed thanks to the provision of a water tank, and consistent running water at home

The transformation started when we faced a very difficult time,’ says Edna. It began when a pastor from nearby, Francinaldo, visited the community. ‘He saw our struggles and had many conversations with our local church.’

With ACEV's help, Pastor Francinaldo launched a programme to bring water to the village. But first there was a lot of ground to prepare...

‘It's not about drilling a well, but developing a community,’ says Lindon Carlos from ACEV. ‘It takes time to bring everyone together. There is much work to be done before drilling can start.’ Lindon explained that while building a well is the result, building the community is the hardest part. ‘That takes time, but lasts for an eternity.’

After the community had been brought together, they identified the best place to drill a well. It was a kilometre outside Edna's neighbourhood. But ACEV's work uniting the community paid off...

‘It was the best celebration ever. There was singing and dancing. It was freedom!’
Edna Maria da Silva

‘Everyone came together,’ Edna remembers. ‘It was very far, and hard work to dig and lay the pipes. But it was our handiwork that made it happen. It took around a month to complete.’

Now, every home in the community (around 30) has a nearby water source. Children are able to go to school, and villagers can use the water to irrigate the land, grow crops and rear animals to sell.

The whole community united for a day of celebration. ‘It was a party,’ says Edna. ‘It was the best celebration ever. There was singing and dancing. It was freedom!’

Photo of Antônio

Antônio works and lives in the Arara community, Tavares, Paraíba state, Brazil.  

A farmer and a poet, and a simple joy of living

Antônio loved his home – a remote rural community in Arara. He started farming alongside his father when he was seven. Lack of income forced Antônio to move to the nearby city of São Paulo. When he had enough money, he came home and bought land. But a lack of water made growing crops difficult.

Antônio's local church and ACEV helped to improve the pipes to better irrigate his land, and has a biodigester to produce natural fertiliser. As a result it is much more fertile, producing a bountiful crop of fruit and vegetables to sell. Antônio has written a poem in celebration of his life and home.

Photos of Antônio farming

Left: Antônio draws water from his well. Right: Antônio tending to fruit and vegetables.

The place where I live (extract)

Here in this place
Where I live and will be raised
It’s my farm, Arara
Of which I will tell you about
and of the simple things that exist
In my treasured home

Here in this place
Where friendship is plentiful
And so many things are beautiful
There are roads to the city
Where outsiders come to visit
For generous is our welcome and hospitality

Traditional figures with long arms, offering a warm embrace.

Gloriel Otília da Silva carries on the tradition of clay figurine making in the artisan town of Caruaru.

Big Huggers

The town of Caruaru continues a tradition of making small statues with very long arms, made out of clay from the local river. They are offered as gifts to people who are far away to show that they care, and would love to give them a big cuddle. We're all missing hugs from friends and family, so why not send a gift or card to a loved one to show you miss them?

Landscape of rolling green hills

Revisit previous destinations

While you wait for your next destination, you can find more encouraging stories of transformation by taking a look back at all the other fantastic places we’ve visited with World of Difference here.

See destinations

We hope you enjoyed your time in Brazil. Where will you be visiting next? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…

©2024 All Rights Reserved. Registered Charity No.265464 (England and Wales) No.SC037624 (Scotland). Tearfund, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE 020 3906 3906 [email protected] Images and copyright @Tom Price/Tearfund

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