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December 03, 2008



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So what do you want us to do? That mother made her choice by having more babies than she could afford. Now she's paying the price. Live and learn. If she wants to get back on her feet the best thing she can do is stop eating so much (because you said she was grossly fat) and feed the babies instead. Once she gets into that rhythm, she can then spend what leftover money she has to open a street vendor post and eek out a living that way. Poor people are poor for a reason, they have too many kids, more than they can afford. The smart money is on the kid who waits until he is financially secure before getting married/having kids and even then only have 1 or 2 kids max, unless he's super rich and can afford to raise 3 or more. I don't feel any sympathy for this mother. Not too bright, is she?

I hope you haven't written this post to promote a socialist Obama-esqe populist agenda in Brazil


Heartbreaking, both the story and the first comment. But no feeding the trolls....


Welcome to Rio's reality!

Mari Biddle

Sua sensibilidade é muito tocante. E esse não é um post socialista. E suas idéias não são de outro mundo. São reais. Você pode fazer mais sim. Você pode fazer mais do que comprar as Pampers para as crianças. Pode encorajar a mãe a procurar ajuda do Bolsa Familia. Ela tem direito ao dinheiro pois tem filhos menores. Se as crianças não tiver birth certificate você pode ajudar levando-as ao local mais proximo pra fazer o registro. É gratis.

Ainda bem que você é humana e olha pra trás.



Cardigan, Gringa,

É aqueles que parecem o mais desapiedados quem terminam acima a ajuda do a maioria. Os outro estão dando somente a aprovação fingida aos problemas.


Tim Stackhouse

I do not agree with the first person who posted. I feel that is overly callous and looks to place blame on a single thing when almost certainly there were a number of factors that led to that situation.

At the same time, however, I can't help but wonder sometimes about the personal responsibility of the people who end up in those situations. I am sure that it is almost never completely their fault because there are so many other factors that play into ending up in that kind of decrepit poverty (education, luck, racism, sickness, etc.), yet I wonder what kind of decisions did these people make before they ended up in that situation, and what sort do they continue to make? Is there anything these people could have done to help themselves avoid ending up where they did? Are there things they could do but aren't that would help them raise themselves out of it?

I almost hope that there isn't anything else they could do except hope that someone helps them. If there are options they they are just not taking advantage of, it's cruel and selfish toward their children who are forced to live the consequences of their parents irresponsibility, whereas if there is nothing they can do, it is a problem that can be solved by society in general if it can ever be mobilized to do so.


This is when we should all count our blessings. This could easily be any one of us. We never know what life may bring.


The thing that makes me sad is that many poor people here have kids so that they can exploit them. People are more likely to give money to someone holding a child than to someone just standing there. In Salvador I see lots of people who are obviously crack addicts holding kids and I just know that the money they get is going to go towards crack and not food. I too feel helpless. What can be done?

Ray Adkins

Mari Biddle gave a great idea, I also heard the Lula governament is giving money through the "Bolsa Familia" program for people with kids...
This lady must have some mental problems, it might be worth to try and convince her to get into the "Bolsa Familia" program...


Hi Rachel,

There are shelters for homeless people and you can call Juizado de Menores telling them were the children are located and the way they are being treated, if they don't give any reply there are NGO's such as Viva Rio that might be more proactive.

Please do not give them any money. At best give them some food, diapers and the number and address of these institutions. by giving them money or helping them live out of the streets in anyway you are encouraging the mother to stay there begging. I know you have the best intentions, but this could encourage or even aggravate this sad reality.

The link below has a list of some shelters in Rio.


I hope this helps!


Sometimes I look forward to the impending collapse of civilization so I can live out my final days as a road warrior. Oh, what, we've all already forgotten that Mel Gibson classic?

It's certainly a smart and logical idea to wait to have kids until you can afford them, but there's nothing logical about having kids. You have them because you want them. Is this woman living in the underpass really any worse than the wealthy families I see every day in Hong Kong who have a passel of kids they ignore while the poorly paid Filipina nanny does all of the work? In both cases, the kids aren't having their emotional needs met (and that tends to be more important than one's financial needs). It's just that the wealthy family has a shinier veneer. How many middle-class parents abuse their kids? Deprive them of medical attention because of crazy religious beliefs? I've met middle-class parents who were serious when they said some of the best things about having kids were the tax deduction/credit and having a good excuse for not going to or being late for work. Is that any different than a beggar in Rio having a kid to try to make extra money?

It's easy to focus on the poor because they can't hide their faults as well as the wealthier can. Humans are pretty much the same regardless of their socioeconomic status.


Buy the Pampers...

F@##ck I'm sorry but it breaks my heart reading about children that are suffering like this.

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