Amigos do Bem helps more than 150,000 people in Brazil
At MAPFRE we are firmly committed to improving people’s quality of life, and our purpose makes this very clear: We care about what matters to you. This vocation for people had to go beyond our insurance activity, and that’s why, in 1975, we started Fundación MAPFRE with the aim of demonstrating the company’s commitment to society, a commitment that’s reflected in collaborations like the one we’ve established with the NGO Amigos do Bem in Brazil.
Started by a group of friends in 1993, this NGO is now one of the largest social projects in the country, helping more than 150,000 people.
What does collaborating with the Amigos do Bem project entail for Fundación MAPFRE?
For Fundación MAPFRE, collaborating in a project like Amigos do Bem means reinforcing and increasing the impact of our social responsibility efforts, in a relevant way and with conviction, stated Fátima Lima, a Fundación MAPFRE Brazil representative.
Amigos do Bem has 30 years of experience carrying out social development programs in the northeastern region of Brazil. It’s one of Brazil’s largest social welfare institutions, attending to more than 150,000 people in the semi-desert region in Alagoas, Pernambuco, and Ceará on a regular basis.
Its projects meet 12 of the 17 SDGs established by the UN. Its efforts strive to truly transform the lives of thousands of people that live in the most highly populated semiarid region in the world, the poorest and most isolated region in Brazil: the “sertão nordestino”.
That’s why it’s an honor for the Fundación to take part and contribute to this important work, as Fátima affirmed. One of the ways an organization can stand out from the rest is through its ability to identify the social and economic issues that affect society’s overall development, working from there to look for solutions to deal with that situation. That’s why, at Fundación MAPFRE, we continue to be firmly committed to making the world a more egalitarian and humane place.
What contributions to the community have been made up until now?
Fundación MAPFRE has been in Brazil for three decades, supporting initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of disadvantaged people and groups and developing important work with a long-term focus that’s guided by ethics and transparency, prioritizing performance monitoring and assessment.
Lima explains that the Fundación invests in programs that benefit thousands of people in all of Brazil’s regions, those that make a real contribution to improving public policies, spreading quality information, and strengthening education in society. This commitment has brought great results year after year, and in 2022 they culminated in over 9 million people having received assistance.
What social action programs have been implemented recently, and how were they received?
Fundación MAPFRE’s social activity in Brazil materializes thanks to the support of NGOs in charge of promoting social initiatives in the areas of education, health, nutrition, labor market access, and professional training.
Aside from collaborating with the NGO Amigos do Bem, we work with 12 more NGOs from 13 states of Brazil’s five regions: Alagoas, Amazonas, Bahía, Ceará, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Río de Janeiro, Río Grande do Norte, Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo. In 2022, more than 14,000 people benefited from these activities. By promoting the work performed by these organizations, Fundación MAPFRE reinforces contributions to the country’s social development.
Since October 2021, we’ve joined Amigos do Bem in the fight against social inequality, with a donation of R$5.5 million to the Emergency Action Plan Against Covid-19 in northeast Brazil, which allowed more than 1,000 tons of food to be distributed to families in situations of extreme social vulnerability in the semiarid region of Alagoas, Ceará, and Pernambuco.
As a company we also support Amigos do Bem’s Transformation Centers, in Pernambuco. The objective of this project is to improve the quality of education for children and young people in the villages of Inajá and Buíque, as well as ensuring that students will attend school on an ongoing basis by providing school transportation, which picks them up every day from their distant villages and brings them back home. In this way, we help promote social inclusion and break the cycle of poverty typical of the region.
What challenges do we face in our social action initiatives, and how can we overcome them?
Amigos do Bem provides assistance to one of the poorest and most isolated regions in Brazil, where millions of people are born, suffer, and die with no prospects for the future. The drought in the area is age-old, and there’s no access to water. Hunger, misery, and the lack of educational and work opportunities become hereditary features, making it impossible for the people that live there to develop individually and collectively.
Nowadays there are still nearly 40 million people that live at poverty or extreme poverty levels in Brazil’s northeastern region. According to a survey conducted by Red Pensann, 12.1 million people are suffering starvation in this region. The climate in the most highly populated semiarid region in the world makes farming impossible, thus leading to a lack of work and development opportunities, which condemns the population to extreme poverty.
The northeastern region still maintains the highest percentage of illiteracy in the country, as 14% of the region can’t read or write. 11 million Brazilians 15 years old and over are illiterate, and 56.2% of them live in the northeastern region. Another alarming fact is that 20% of the region’s children ages 6-17 don’t attend school.
As they are aware of how important their actions to transform the socioeconomic reality are, many organizations know that socially responsible companies play a role that goes far beyond generating employment, paying taxes, and exporting foreign currency. To guarantee social development, creating opportunities so that as many people as possible feel included is fundamental. Anticipating the opportunities and challenges that will emerge is what drives our initiatives in social areas. We’ll continue our extensive and strategic work, making progress on establishing and fortifying new collaborations to guarantee even greater coverage and visibility for the programs we support, stated the representative from the Fundación in Brazil.
Few organizations, on a global level, have the privilege of counting on a foundation as active as Fundación MAPFRE. An institution that promotes quality of life and proactively collaborates to meet the social demands the country faces. There have been many stories, challenges, and successes, and most importantly, thousands of people in the far reaches of the country have benefited over the last 30 years.