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Thanks to Lula and Dilma, Brazil is undergoing a process of inclusion unprecedented in history. With the Bolsa Família, 36 million Brazilians have emerged from extreme poverty. Brazil today is a more developed and less unequal country, very different than the Brazil of 12 years ago, when millions of Brazilians did not have enough to eat and poor children were obliged to leave school to help feed their families. Without an education, these children grew up poor and had children who also poor and condemned to growing up without a future.
Hunger was inherited: extreme poverty was passed on from generation to generation.
At the beginning of his administration, Lula reaffirmed that every Brazilian had the right to a minimum of three meals per day and set up the largest income transfer program in the world that today expanded and deepened by the government of President Dilma - provides benefit to 14 million families (50 million people). The Bolsa Família promotes both inclusion and citizenship, generates employment, benefits the economy, increases the level of education, reduces infant mortality and health to create a country that is richer and without poverty, a country for everyone.
Forget the “Indolence Effect” so often mentioned by biased analysts. It does not exist and never did. No less than 75% of the adult beneficiaries are in the workforce. In addition, 1.7 million families voluntarily left the program and another million did not reregister with the program (probably because they managed to improve their lives). The truth is that no beneficiary lives a life of ease: each family receives, on average, R $167.00 per month - not much but enough to provide food security and to guarantee - or rather, require - regular health checkups and school attendance. And by raising the level of education and the quality of health of the population, the Bolsa Família is helping to change not only the lives of the poor, but the future of Brazil.
Under Dilma, the income transfer policy begun under Lula went through two signifcant changes in order to accomplish the goal of the eradication of extreme poverty with the incorporation of activities for productive inclusion and access to public services: the “Brasil Sem Miséria” (Brazil Without Poverty) and the Brasil Carinhoso (“Brazil Caring”) programs.
The Brazil Without Poverty Program provides more resources for those who most need them and strengthens productive inclusion
•In 2011, President Dilma introduced the Brazil Without Poverty Program whose objective is explicit in its title. With the Brazil without poverty program, the Bolsa Família received additional resources to be used for the poorest of the poor: the lower the per capita income of the family, the greater is the amount they receive, guaranteeing that each member of the family will have an income of at least R $77 (US$35) per month. This program provided benefits to 22 million Brazilians that were still living in extreme poverty. Benefits enjoyed a real average increase of 44%; for the poorest of the poor, the interest was 84%. In addition to the transfer of income, the beneficiaries were provided access to various policies for productive inclusion. In just a single decade, with the Bolsa Família and the Brasil Sem Miséria programs extreme poverty in Brazil declined by 89%. It was the end of extreme poverty from an income point of view, the first step toward a life with greater dignity.
One of the cruelest faces of poverty: 42% of the Brazilians that live under conditions of extreme poverty are less than 15 years of age. To meet the needs of the most vulnerable portion of this group - children six years of age or less – the Dilma administration established the Brazil Cares Program (“Brasil Carinhoso”). Nearly 600,000 child beneficiaries attend child care centers everyday. The distribution of vitamin A and iron sulfate free of charge protects against illnesses that are harmful to child development. The funding distributed for school lunch programs for children enrolled in the public school system was increased by 66%. Everything that Brazilian girls and boys need to grow up healthy, to develop their potential strengths and become full citizens.
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