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Letter From My Child

Brazil: Forced to the Streets

Forced to Rio's streets rampant with drugs and violence, a teen shares her greatest sorrow - the lack of love.

Last Modified: 24 Apr 2013 14:50
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Director: Gert Corba

All over the world, people migrate from rural areas to cities, in search of a better future. But Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s capital - infamous for its favela - is not one of those.

It is a city, where, without any presence of authorities, anarchy and violence reign the streets.

If I wrote to my father, I'd write about what happened to me. And that he is to blame. If he'd been a father he would have protected me. That's what a father should do. Especially for a daughter.

 I'd write him something like: 'Why weren't you a father? What did I do wrong for you to abandon me?

A former street child

Drug-trafficking and crime are part of the daily lives of its citizens, physical abuse and molestation continue behind their front doors. Families fall apart easily, when the men are in prison or otherwise leave the household - a lot of the children end up on the streets.

Ana Raquel, 14, knows what the streets can do to children. The violence, the drugs - youth and beauty making you a coveted prey. It was not so long ago that she enjoyed a happy childhood, living with her caring grandmother.

But then her granny died and she was forced to live with her mother and new stepfather.

It is not the fighting that chases her to the streets, it is her stepfather molesting her. She is not built for surviving the harsh street life though - fortunately she now lives in a children’s shelter.

What aches her is the lack of love and attention that she never had. Then she decides to write a letter to her mother and stepfather.

Marchina, a Brazilian social worker, says often the public think of street kids as "criminals; kids to stay clear of. But when you get to know them, you don't see that. They're not animals or monsters, but normal kids who are the victims of a cruel society who have been abandoned."

"When I first saw her, she was very weak. She had epilepsy. I've seen several attacks. The other kids on the street asked us to take care of her. She looked very frightened.

"She'd already lost all hope because of everything that had happened to her. She was totally disillusioned with her life and was told to become a prostitute."

This episode of Letter From my Child can be seen from Tuesday, April 23 at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630.


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Source:
Al Jazeera
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