Pastoral Da Crianca

Curitiba, Brazil

In 1983, Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann was asked by the Roman Catholic Church to help reduce the high rates of malnutrition and infant mortality. As a physician, she knew many fatal diseases could be avoided with better nutrition, health services and education. She knew if she could encourage others to help her, she would see dramatic results.

Neumann, who passed away in 2010, created Pastoral da Criança, a network of volunteers and community leaders addressing the issues of unemployment, homelessness, hunger and addiction. In order to reduce malnutrition and infant mortality, she educated pregnant women on proper prenatal care and breastfeeding. Her focus soon went beyond infants to children under the age of six.

Today, Pastoral da Criança is creating hope for millions of families. The 200,000 volunteers and leaders in 40,000 communities make home visits every month. Pastoral da Criança is helping mobilize governments and influence opinion leaders to change the state of Brazil, and their work is being replicated in other countries.