Faith Group to Launch $1.5 Million Effort to Save Brazilian Street Kids

Thousands of Brazilian street kids heading on a dead-end path of life will have a chance at a new and transformed future through a $1.5 million faith-based campaign.

Hope Unlimited will mark its 15th anniversary this fall by launching its Next Generation campaign in which it hopes to raise $1.5 million to rescue youths from the Brazilian street life of sniffing glue, drug use, prostitution, and gang activities.

“In Brazil, the life expectancy of street children is three to four years,” said Hope Unlimited President Philip Smith in a statement. “Our heart’s desire is to change this generational cycle of hopelessness and give them the hope of Christ so they may become leaders in their homes, communities, and churches.”

The ministry was founded in 1991 by Jack Smith and Philip Smith, a father and son team from San Diego, in response to police-sanctioned death squads against children in the early ‘90’s. Thousands of Brazilian street children were murdered as local business owners hired death squads to rid their neighborhoods of wandering youths who often survived by criminal activities.

Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country with approximately 188 million people. According to Hope Unlimited, 20 million children live at or below the poverty level in Brazil and there are more than 800,000 child prostitutes. An estimated 5 million children on the streets have chosen the life to escape from extreme poverty or abusive family situation.

Hope Unlimited has rescued more than 1,000 youths at its model program near Sao Paulo over the past 15 years. The program also serves as a model to train smaller indigenous ministries.

The program uses a long-term, Christ-centered approach of family life, education, therapy and vocational training. The children reside at the 35-acre “The City of Youth” campus in Campinas, Brazil, which includes dormitories, classrooms, vocational training facilities, a farm, recreational facilities, offices, and a chapel. A satellite residential facility for girls, Hope Ranch, is 10 minutes away from the campus and a graduate half-way house is located in downtown Campinas.

A Next Generation celebration event will be held on Nov. 9 in San Mateo, Calif.

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