Our programmes in Brazil

In 2000, His Eminence Jose Cardinal Falcao invited the Sisters of Mary to establish a house in his archdiocese in Brasilia, Brazil. In 2001, the Sisters of Mary accepted the land offered to them in the city of Sta. Maria, Distrito Federal, and the groundbreaking ceremony followed shortly after.

In March 2002, the construction of a 2-story building was completed. This building serves as a health centre for the children as part of our efforts to care for the children who often arrive in poor health.

A 7-story building dedicated to the girls education programme was blessed on October 7, 2003, and the Girlstown currently provides primary education from grade 6 to 9 to young girls aged 12-18 years old; girls coming from the poorest families thoughout Brazil. 

On July 1, 2004, the Sisters opened a Day Care Centre where children aged 3-5 years old are being taken care of by the Sisters while their mothers are at work. The Centre welcomes children from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Currently there are 839 girls at school and 87 toddlers who attend the Day Care Centre.

Brasilia facility overview

  • 1 seven-story residential and classroom building
  • 1 three-story vocational training workshop
  • 1 gymnasium with stage
  • 1 semi-Olympic size indoor swimming pool
  • 1 football field
  • 1 day care centre 
  • 1 sewing workshop with vehicle garage
  • 2 basketball courts
Quick Facts

Irmas de Maria / Vila das Criancas - Brasilia 
Caixa Postal: 005739 / AC Gama-DF
N.R. Alagados, Chacara 13-B
Santa Maria DF, Brasilia, Brazil

Capacity: 1,000

Opened in 2002

Vanessa da Silva Leão, Brasilia Girlstown, Brazil - in her own words

“My name is Vanessa da Silva Leão and I´m 14 years old and come from Xinguara, state of Pará. I am the second child. I don´t know my eldest sister since she was adopted before I was born. When my mother got pregnant with me she was taking drugs and drinking alcohol. I was born premature and had to
recuperate in an incubator. After four days, she abandoned me in the hospital. Nobody knew where she was.
“My father had no experience of taking care of a baby so he paid a baby-sitter, then he gave me to my uncle and then I was given back to my father again. That´s how my life was, being tossed from one to the other

during my early childhood life. We were living in a simple house on a farm, until my father met my step- mother, a wine drinker. Many times she was so drunk she used to beat me and threw me on the floor. Since then, I was afraid to be with them. Many times, I was hungry and left with no food to eat. At times I was left to sleep outside because they wouldn’t let me in. For this reason, I ran away from them as it was too much. In the end they gave up taking care of me.

“It was so painful to grow up without experiencing the parent’s love of a child.  From then on, I transferred from one house to another, from one relative to another.    Finally, my aunt shared her home for me. My father and step- mother were living in another state.

“My aunt is very poor but she is generous. I love her and treated her as my mother, but many times but her husband was quite cold and indifferent to me. Many times he spoke harsh words and he was always telling that I didn’t have a future and that I would grow up to be just like my mother. It made me think of running away again but I had nowhere to go.

“In 2017, the Sisters of Mary arrived in our town and I took the entrance test and thanks to God I made it. Now I am in Grade 8 and I love my school. The sisters are very loving. Here I feel what it is to be loved and I have learned how to love. I am learning many things and am gaining more confidence. I realised that I have many talents and I am now learning how to play the guitar.

“This is the brief story of my life. I want to do my best to help my needy neighbor. I hope someday I will become a police-woman so I can work for peace and order so that children can live safely.”