Passengers traveling through the departure and arrival terminals of the largest and busiest airport in Brazil (more than 120 000 people per day) – the International of São Paulo (GRU) in Guarulhos – are often approached by children asking for money. Due to the large number of people, nationalities and currencies passing through the airport, alms have become a lucrative source of income for adults who take advantage of children in these places.
In order to combat this practice and prevent more children from being exploited, Aldeias Infantis SOS Brasil has initiated a joint campaign with the company that manages the airport, GruAirport, with the theme “Don’t support panhandling and child labor. Feed the future”.
The first step is to educate airport users about the consequences of giving money to these children. In the meantime, the children will be placed in social assistance and education programs located in the airport, which are supported and funded by the prefecture of Guarulhos. It is estimated that in this first phase, 40 children will benefit from these measures.
In addition, the campaign will also ask for donations from passengers. The resources will fund actions that strengthen families in the communities surrounding the airport, working directly with the families of these children. With this work we remove the need for begging, as these families will no longer need to solely depend on donations from passengers.
The act of giving alms or even buying products from these children does not contribute to the improvement of their quality of life. Such actions in fact contribute to school drop-outs, encourage child labor and in the process end up jeopardizing the future of these children.
The campaign began in April 2017 with the care of 39 children. It is expected that by the end of July it will be possible to begin the work of strengthening the families in the communities around the airport.