Okan Ere

Okan Ere's Community News

Thanks to the generous support of donors, we’re making great progress toward the well-being of children and their families. These are a few of the areas we focused on in the past year: 

On the outskirts of Salvador, Brazil's third largest city, the Okan Ere community is home to marginalized families who live in the valleys surrounding the country's largest low-cost suburban housing complex. The complex was originally designed for 100,000 people, but the population is now estimated to be around 450,000, as more and more impoverished families have moved into the area.

Most of the families in the valley are descendants of the African Yoruba tribe, who came to Brazil from Nigeria, Togo, Benin, and Ghana. The community name "Okan Ere" means "heart" and "child" in the Yoruba language. Public services and infrastructure are completely inadequate in these unplanned areas. Homes are poorly built, and landslides are common in the rainy season. Most people earn their living from informal jobs as maids, construction workers, or street vendors.

Families in Okan Ere are marginalized by historical discrimination. Sadly, they are socially and politically invisible. The community is also marked by high levels of domestic violence and violence related to drug trafficking.
  • 1,350 individuals learned about child rights and protection issues to help ensure children's safety and participation
  • 159 young people are leading or attending child parliaments to advocate for their rights and influence local decisions
  • 1 child parliament is empowering young people to advocate for their rights and participate in community decisions
  • 60 people learned how to work with local authorities and influence decisions to improve services and child well-being               
  • 12 community groups are engaging with local authorities to advance their rights and create positive changes for children
  • 47 teachers and volunteers learned child-friendly teaching methods to improve the quality of education for children
Community Leadership
With the partnership of Canadian sponsors and the community, World Vision will work in:
  • Training teachers in new methods that help youth learn personal and social awareness skills, along with practical planning, saving and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Teaching students life skills, social responsibility and entrepreneurship through activities, games, and savings clubs, as well as financial and community improvement initiatives.
  • Helping teachers develop methods to foster a culture of peace. Instructing teens in ways to promote a culture of peace in their families and community.
  • Training and mentoring teens to become involved in the development of their community, and to actively participate in decisions and policies.

Child Protection
To ensure children and youth enjoy a safe and protected environment, World Vision will work in:
  • Training parents and community members in nutrition, as well as hygiene and sanitation practices that can protect children's health.
  • Setting up a volunteer network to monitor children's health and nutrition.
  • Helping the community's schools, daycares, and faith-based and community organizations to see the importance of child protection.
  • Training teachers, and community and faith-based organizations in new methods of teaching and working with children in order to protect and value them.
  • Raising awareness among parents and guardians about the patterns of child mistreatment in the home.
  • Lifting the silence on child abuse, helping the community acknowledge the issue, and developing ways to prevent as well as handle incidents.
  • Setting up art education and reading programs where children can learn new skills, value themselves, and be motivated to continue their education.
  • Strengthening local organizations that are also working to protect children.

Explore Okan Ere

current conditions

To protect the privacy of children, this map shows only the general area of the community, not the exact location.

The needs in Okan Ere

Community Leadership
As children grow up, they become easier prey to the drug culture. Dropping out of school is more common because youth are able to find menial jobs. But wages are very low and most young people are unemployed with little to do. By the time they are old enough to better understand their life situation, they are powerless to change their circumstances.

Child Protection
Children from the "valleys" grow up stigmatized by race and poverty, and are often treated as outcasts of the mainstream society. There aren't enough school spaces in their community, few health and sanitation services, and violence occurs in their homes and on the streets. Drug trafficking has almost become a part of the fabric of the community, and children are the easiest prey.

Little attention is paid to children's rights. Parents are struggling to survive, and their children struggle, too. Children are often forced to grow up fast in Okan Ere. Many begin to do odd jobs to earn money as early as nine years old, which some parents also believe keeps them away from drugs. The area also has one of highest rates of sexual abuse among children.
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Life cycle of a sponsorship community

Okan Ere, Brazil is in Phase 3

PHASE 3: Enhance sustainability

Children and families enjoy improved living conditions. They're ready to become independent and continue the work you helped start. We invite you to help another child and community!