This is our kids' reality! On Saturday (May 18, 2019), around 7 pm, there was a drive-by shooting in the Portão neighborhood, located approximately 3 miles from the Lagoa dos Patos community in Lauro de Freitas (State of Bahia, Brazil), where Projeto Crescer has its headquarters. According to the Department of Public Security, four men in a vehicle began firing at a group of people on one of the streets of the neighborhood, making their first victim, a 15-year-old teenager; then headed to the next street and continued shooting. There were 6 fatalities in total, including two teenagers. The targets were supposed to be members of a rival faction, but according to residents the 6 victims were innocent by-standers.
The next day (Sunday, May 19), as a counter-measure, a military police force raided a group of drug dealers at a barbecue in the Lagoa dos Patos community, where they were supposedly celebrating the shooting that happened the day before in the Portão neighborhood. During the raid, three people were killed and two were injured.
Residents of the Lagoa dos Patos community claim that the Saturday night drive-by shooting in the Portão neighborhood was not caused by drug dealers from the Lagoa dos Patos community, and the alleged barbecue wasn’t related to the shooting; the purpose of the gathering raided by the military
police was a 1-year memorial in honor of a late drug dealer leader of the Lagoa dos Patos community.
Before these events, local residents had been put on on alert after a warning circulated via Whatsapp that the Portão neighborhood drug dealers were preparing to invade the Lagoa dos Patos community and take the lives of anyone out on the streets. A curfew was put in effect for the Lagoa dos Patos community, which prohibited any kind of commerce and circulation in the streets for an indefinite period. During that period, all community schools suspended activities, including Projeto Crescer. Also for the safety of the staff, the Projeto closed for 2 days.
The Silver Lining
Rather than having to deal all on their own with uncertainty in a community overtaken by violent crimes such as these, gangs and drug dealers who want to recruit them, and the low level schooling and social education available to them, children from the Lagoa dos Patos community can count on assistance from Projeto Crescer. Our institution has established firm roots in the community we serve; it’s respected even by the local gangs, who send warnings to protect our children when something like the drive-by shooting on May 18 is about
Part of our work at the Projeto Crescer is to offer Psychological Counseling and Guidance programs to help the children develop individual and social skills, maturity and resilience to their environment, as well as the ability to positively influence their community. One of our goals is to break the vicious cycle caused by these strong environmental influences, while preparing the children to overcome the social segregation barriers imposed by their poverty condition. And our hope is to help create a new brand of community leaders of tomorrow!
Please give our children the gift of Hope!
Projeto Crescer is a not-for-profit organization; IRS# 83-2604041
For more information, please contact:
Wania Howard, Founder
Tel.: 407-557-2376 • Email: email@example.com
Projeto Crescer-Brazil website: projetocrescer-ba.org.br