Nearly 25 percent of the population of Brazil live below the poverty line, and have family incomes of less than £4.30 a day. The gap between rich and poor is wide, and disparities between provinces are very large, particularly in rural areas. Education provision is inconsistent and often of poor quality, resulting in lack of employable skills. Crime and violence are serious problems in many parts of the country.

The Sisters of Mary children’s Village for Girls in Brasilia addresses these needs by offering free live-in middle and high school education and vocational training to 752 girls from extremely poor backgrounds from all provinces of Brazil who are between the ages of 12 and 16.