THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT OF CHILDREN
By Daniel Hoffman
The National Movement of Street Children (Movimento Nacional de Meninos e Meninas de Rua, or MNMMR), a voluntary NGO, was founded in 1985 by activists and "street educators" who sought to empower and organize street kids in their own environment--the public spaces of the city centers. At present, the Movement includes some 3,000 "street educators" united under local commissions in 25 states, reaching tens of thousands of children and adolescents in the streets and parks of Brazilian cities. Locally, the children are encouraged to organize into núcleos, which typically bring together children engaged in a similar livelihood--for example, kids who watch cars, or kids who shine shoes--or children who occupy a common location. The city of Recife alone has close to 30 núcleos. Representatives from the various nu'cleos meet together weekly, and every three years the National Movement organizes a national encontro in the nation's capital.
In addition to organizing children in the street, the MNMMR has given high priority to creating effective municipal and state Children's Rights Councils (Conselhos de Direitos) as mandated by the Child and Adolescent Statute, and to forming alliances with other branches of the popular movement. Other priorities include the training of street "educators," extension of the movement to the smaller municipalities of the country's interior, as well as the ongoing work of monitoring and denouncing rights violations against childen and adolescents.
The Brazil Project of the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI) is collaborating with the MNMMR to bring greater local and international attention to human-rights violations and assassinations of street children in Brazil. The ICRI, based in Berkeley, California, has initiated a Campaign Against Impunity to put international pressure on the Brazilian government to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations implicated in death-squad killings of children and adolescents. According to the MNMMR, over 90 percent of murders committed against children are never brought to justice. The Campaign supports current efforts in Brazil to break the cycle of impunity tacitly granted to the assailants of children. For further information, including fact-sheets, petitions, and postcards addressed to Brazilian politicians, write to:
The Brazil Project
International Child Resource Institute
1810 Hopkins Street
Berkeley, CA USA 94707