When Priscilla Veras, a supervisor with Compassion Brazil, first visited this area of the country, she felt like she had traveled to another world. “I had never experienced poverty like this,” says Priscilla. “I had never seen such a lack of hope. These people didn’t believe they could have a different future. They didn’t think they deserved anything better.”
But as she met with pastors and heard their passion for serving the poor children of their communities, she knew this was exactly where Compassion needed to be. Here, on the streets filled with gangs and violence, she found the true diamonds in the rough — boys and girls mired in poverty but dreaming of a different life.
“I cried when I met with the church leaders,” she says. “But they were happy tears. I told them, where the world sees poverty, we see potential.”
A Shining Light
Before Compassion came to help, 8-year-old Thamyres Pinho had never been described as a jewel and didn’t fully grasp what the word “potential” meant. But now, from the moment she smiles, the darkness recedes. That smile is amplified by the contrast of her surroundings, by the violence of her neighborhood, by the heaviness of her home. When she plays with her friends she is all energy and laughter. At home, with her grieving grandmother, she is quieter. But still, she shines.