Corona in Brazil; an update
A short update on current situation in Brazil and in particular at Estrela da Favela. We closed the school the same time the Dutch lockdown started: March 16, 2020. All the students are at home.
In Brazil, the Corona virus is still in an early stage. Rightwing president Bolsonaro arguments in press conferences the virus isn’t anything but an insignificant flu. He urges people to return to their normal lives, to take the streets and go back to work. However, the governors of the federal states have decided, inspite of Bolsonaro’s oppression, to maintain restrictive measures.
In a city like Rio, where the people in the favelas live very close to one another and have informal jobs, the prospects are not very positive. Water isn’t even always available. We got first hand information that nurses have to work unprotected with Corona patients and hospitals are downgrading the death figures.
Fortunately, the virus hasn’t yet been detected in Mangueira, home of Estrela da Favela. The schools are closed. The drug commands have set a curfew. No one is allowed to be on the street after eight pm. Those who disobey, will know the consequences.
We had had to close our doors with a heavy heart. As computers and telephones are scarce in the favela, home schooling via internet isn’t possible. Those who have a phone can can only afford limited internet data.
We are setting up a system where our teachers prepare homework classes the students can pick up at a central point in the neighborhood. Every week, the results are retrieved and corrected. As far as possible, we are in contact with our students and their mothers / grandmothers, who have to keep the children indoors in their tiny houses.
We hope our teachers and students will surpass this storm in good health. Until tit is over, we are doing our utmost to guide our students and their families through these extreme times.