Corona in Brazil; an update
A short update on current situation in Brazil and in particular at Estrela da Favela. We closed the school at the same time the Dutch lockdown started: March 16, 2020. All the children are all at home.
In Brazil, the coronavirus is in an early stage. Rightwing president Bolsonaro arguments in press conferences the virus isn’t anything but an insignificant flu. He urges the people to return to normal life, to take the streets and go 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 people live in the favelas very close to each other and have informal jobs, the prospects are not very positive. Water isn’t even always available. We know from first hand, that nurses have to work with corona patients unprotected and hospitals are downloading 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 20:00. 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’re setting up a system in which the teachers prepare homework classes, which the students can pick up at a central location in the neighborhood. Every week, the results are retrieved and corrected. As far as possible, we’re in contact with our students and their mothers / grandmothers, who have to keep their children indoors in those tiny houses.
We hope that our teachers and students will surpass the storm in good health. Until then, we’re doing our utmost to guide our students and their families through these extreme times.