Unique “social technology” has lifted 36 million people out of extreme poverty in Brazil says President Dilma Rousseff
BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL (30 October 2013) – Bolsa Família, the landmark social development program of the Brazilian federal government that has helped 36 million people overcome extreme poverty, reached the 10-year milestone this week. Speaking today at a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said: “Bolsa Família will exist as long as there is one poor family in the country.”
At the event, which was attended by Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as well as Brazil’s Minister of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Tereza Campello, President Rousseff added that “Bolsa Família is not charity but a social technology for income distribution and tackling inequality. That is the issue. Income is purchasing power, and those who benefit from the Bolsa Família have autonomy to decide what to purchase… The Bolsa Família transfers generate free choice of citizenship and consideration of the person who receives it as a Brazilian citizen.”
According to President Rousseff, the money used in the Bolsa Família is an income transfer from those who pay taxes to a portion of the population to which Brazil is indebted. She stressed that any criticism of the program is based on “old welfare prejudice.”
50 million beneficiaries
The 13.8 million households – or 50 million people – who receive the Bolsa Família benefit each month are not the only ones benefiting from it. Today, it is difficult to find a Brazilian who is not affected directly or indirectly by the program.
“There are 50 million reasons to celebrate 10 years of the Bolsa Família,” said Minister of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Tereza Campello.
During the ceremony, Minister Campello rejected the myths attributed to the program in the last 10 years and said that today is an opportunity to take stock of the results, publicize successes and further enhance the Bolsa Família.
“Currently it is easy to defend the Bolsa Família, but it was not always like this,” she said. “Enough of speculations and assumptions. We have data, statistics, robust scientific evidence, national and international, to bury the myths and show the effects of the Bolsa FamíliaProgram on the lives of the poorest.”
Minister Campello presented the program’s impact on children’s health and education, such as more than 5 million children under the age of 7 are vaccinated. She also cited a study published in The Lancet in May 2013 which stated that the Bolsa Família has contributed to reducing mortality in children under 5 years by 19.4 percent between 2004 and 2009. The same study found that in diseases directly linked to poverty, the decline of infant mortality was more pronounced: 46.3 percent in reduction in mortality from diarrhea and 58.2 percent from malnutrition in municipalities with high coverage of the program.
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