Brazilian aid organizations struggle to feed unemployed amid recession

World Today

As Brazil’s unemployment rate hits new record highs, the number of people in need of food handouts is escalating in the country’s biggest cities. Aid organizations are struggling to meet rising demand amid an economic slump.

CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco report.

Brazilian aid organizations struggle to feed unemployed amid recession

As Brazil’s unemployment rate hits new record highs, the number of people in need of food handouts is escalating in the country’s biggest cities. Aid organizations are struggling to meet rising demand amid an economic slump

Every Wednesday morning, Rio’s homeless and unemployed can be seen lining up for free food at the Anjinho Feliz center – Happy Little Angel in English.

Elizabeth Serafim is one of them. She still has a home but has been looking for a job as a cleaner for the past two years.

“I already have experience but I apply for jobs and they say I am not qualified. They should say they have no vacancies, but no, they make us register and then say we are not fit to work,” Elizabeth says.

Miriam Gomes, the non-profit group founder, is struggling to get more donations for some two hundred people that knock at her door every week.

With the help of volunteers, she distributes vegetables, rice, biscuits, milk powder and all sorts of basic staple foods.

“In the last year and a half or two, the demand has risen alarmingly and I estimate 70 percent are people that have lost their jobs,” Gomes said.

In Rio de Janeiro, the number of people living on the streets has nearly tripled over the last three years, reaching more than 14,000.

In February, unemployment hit a record high of 13.2 percent. Compared with the same time last year, the jobless rate surged 30.6 percent.

There are now 13.5 million Brazilians unemployed.

While the government is trying to fix Brazil’s economy through austerity measures, for these people that depend on donations to survive, it will take a long time until they find a job.