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Euclides - Strength and resilience in the face of abandonment

The city of Timbiras presents a disconcerting contrast between the natural beauty surrounding the area and the lack of access to many basic services. While you can enjoy the view of beautiful hills and plateaus that make up the region from the windows of almost all mud houses, the conditions in which their inhabitants live lack the same beauty.

Problems with basic sanitation are common, as well as the impossibility of movement due to the weak public transport system in the region. Children face problems every day to go to school and once they finish elementary and high school with much effort, they can only enter college if they move to another municipality, 125 km away.

In one of these houses, in São Miguel, Plan International Brazil’s team found a child living with his brother and grandfather, facing the same difficulties as every other home in the community.

Euclid, then 11 years old, was a very shy child, but very attached to his maternal grandmother’s husband, whom he recognizes as his grandfather. Left by his mother at his grandparents' house, Euclides discovered some time later that he had a younger brother, when the child was left in the same house as him. Of the children's mother, little is known, since she passed away shortly after leaving them with their grandmother. Eventually, the grandmother also left the house, leaving only Euclides, his brother and grandfather, to whom the children were very attached. When he died, the children were alone in a region that, in addition to their personal tragedy, does not guarantee their basic rights, such as education or health.

A few months later, during an onsite visit, Plan International Brazil’s Relationship Building agents found out about the tragedy that struck the lives of Euclides and his brother. The organization's employees were mobilized and took the necessary measures to ensure the survival of these children in those conditions. Authorities were called up, at the same time that Plan International Brazil’s employees needed to organize emergency aid, such as food and clothing. The team also mobilized some neighbourhood members to help monitor the conditions in which the children were living, and check if they were attending school.

The two brothers still live in the same house that left to them by their grandfather, and despite some disagreements, common to their age, they know that they are now a family. On the walls, some photos yellowed by time are the memories that remained of their mother, grandmother, grandfather and twin sisters, who they have never met.

As important as the work to get Euclides and his brother out of the situation they were in for some time, is to continue the work that was done. To do so, and taking into account that the community where they live is difficult to access, the organization's employees rely on the cooperation of neighbours who know the boys’ story and take turns to follow the case; with the help of their legal guardian, a neighbour who volunteered and was then assigned by the State. This collective effort has helped to ensure that the government fulfils its role in providing the minimum assistance that the boys’ right, such as health and access to education.

Euclides is still a very shy young man at first contact, a communication difficulty that he understands that has kept him out of some of the organization’s projects, where a certain social resourcefulness was expected. However, he shows great enthusiasm to learn, evidenced by his commitment to study. Recently, Euclides started a technical course and has shown much interest in mechanics. Just bring the subject up to get him out of his armour. Another topic that always works is football. An avid Flamengo supporter, just talk about the team and he will start to tell you his full repertoire of jokes about its adversaries.

Five years have passed since the first contact of the brothers with Plan. Today, Euclides is a 16-year-old who regularly attends school. He is a good student and has big plans for his future. He speaks of being a politician and wants to help improve the conditions of the place where he lives. Of course, as expected from a teenager, he sometimes changes his mind and says he wants to be a missionary. Interestingly, regardless of what profession he decides to follow, they share a very strong common point, very present in Euclides’s life: helping others.