Coronavirus is out of control in Brazil… but the church is stepping up.
In the last few weeks, Brazil has seen a rapid increase in the spread of coronavirus. By 8 July, the country had over 1.6 million confirmed cases.
One of the defences against passing on or catching the virus is good hygiene and keeping hands clean. In a place where many communities lack access to the most basic sanitation, the risks to human life are enormous.
Only half of the people in Brazil have a sewage collection service - that’s around 100 million people without one of the simplest necessities for maintaining good hygiene and keeping safe from disease.
In the face of the pandemic, the church is stepping into the gap.
Tearfund is working through churches and other local partners to distribute food and hygiene kits, raise awareness about the disease, and find temporary shelter for people who had been living on the streets.
Hands and feet
‘Partners have been making and distributing masks, equipping pastors and leaders, and providing school materials for children,’ says Claudia Moreira, who leads Tearfund’s work in Brazil.
In Manaus, one of the largest cities in Brazil, our partner has been working to distribute food baskets and hygiene kits to 180 vulnerable people. ‘Food was purchased from local businesses to encourage the income of small traders,’ says Thamirys Souza, who coordinated the distribution.
‘To avoid crowding, the baskets were delivered directly to the families and homes. People were very grateful, since many are in dire need.’
Tearfund is also organising support work in urban slums, where coronavirus conditions have made it increasingly difficult to get food or basic necessities. Lack of good nutrition and an inability to maintain good hygiene both further increase the impact of coronavirus.
Through our partners, we have planned for 400 families within these communities to receive food baskets and hygiene items for three months. This is support which has the potential to save lives in the current circumstances.
Another one of our partners has been helping advise people living in remote areas about how to keep the farming industry going. They have been encouraging the sale of healthy foods and providing guidance for people to continue to be able to make a basic income; along with sharing information on how to safely distribute food and hygiene materials for farming families and waste pickers.
Hope for the future
As the body of Christ, the church in Brazil is rising up to work together – to be the hands and feet of Jesus in response to the current needs.
‘Since mid-March we have been organising online conversations with our partners to share what they have been doing to combat the pandemic,’ says Claudia.
‘We also started a partnership with World Vision, Evangelical Alliance and Editora Ultimato to hold weekly live broadcasts with national leaders to discuss the future of the church after the pandemic.’
These conversations are starting to map out the ways the church can help to bring about practical transformation in society. Sowing seeds of hope for the future in Brazil.
- Lift up all those in Brazil who are facing fear and illness or loss as they, or their loved ones, are affected by coronavirus. Ask God to bring swift healing to their land and to comfort those who mourn.
- Pray for each person in Brazil and around the world who is worrying about where their next meal is coming from. Pray that all people will have enough to eat and access to necessities like good sanitation and correct information that can help keep them safe.
- Praise God for all of our partners and for the local church in Brazil. Ask that he will bless, encourage and protect them as they share his love, working on the frontlines to meet the needs of those who are vulnerable.