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November 19, 2009
A young journalist tackles Brazil’s social problems

Worldfocus has partnered with Pearl World Youth News, an initiative of Daniel Pearl Foundation and iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) to bring voices of young reporters from around the globe to our viewers.

Bruna Santos, a 17-year-old student from Brasilia, Brazil, produced a short video about child labor in Brazil.

In the accompanying text, Santos discusses the plight of children who work on the streets selling candy and other goods to supplement their parents’ income.

Child labor in Brasilia is becoming more common day by day. Children work mostly on the streets selling candies, flowers, stickers and other small items. Some perform services, such as watching over cars or washing them in public parking lots. Others shine shoes. Brasília has 2 million inhabitants and is the city with highest per capita income in the country, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Research by the Federal Policy Department shows that about 7,512 children are now working on the streets.

Most of these children come from low-income families, and their parents do not have a steady job or do not make enough money to take care of their children. So, the children work on the streets to help buy food and pay for bills….

Wesley Pereira, 12, and his brothers, Walisson Pereira, 14, and Wellington Pereira, 16, sell candy at a busy downtown intersection for nine hours a day. They have been working at that intersection for more than a year, said Wesley. They earn about 150 reais ($68 US) a day, but must spend 60 reais ($28 US) of that to buy candy for the next day, they said.

Worldfocus producer Channtal Fleischfresser spoke with Santos about her experience making the piece.

Why did you decide to do a story about child labor?
I had to choose from a number of issues: student politics, child labor, and other areas, and I was the only representative from Brazil to deal with child labor as a subject.

Bruna Santos

Here in Brazil, we often see children asking for money at street lights, washing cars, selling stickers or sweets. I thought it would be interesting to show other people. When most people think of child labor, they think of kids in sweatshops, not selling things on the street.

Did you have trouble getting the children to speak to you?
We interviewed three kids and one who was afraid of being identified because he thought his parents would beat him. My teacher and I went through several drafts of the piece to avoid exposing the kids too much.

Did you write the piece in Portuguese or English?
I wrote a draft in Portuguese and then wrote it into English with the help of my teacher, Claudia Batista.

Have you already decided what you want to do professionally?
I decided two years ago that I wanted to be a journalist. I’ve always liked to read and write, and I started looking for people who worked with this. I’m sure it’s what I want to do.

How long have you been working with iEARN?
I’ve been working with them since the beginning of 2009. It’s very interesting, because in addition to using a different language, [English,] you get to meet lots of different people, and see different perspectives you didn’t know about before.

– Channtal Fleischfresser

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I will certainly show case this media piece to my group of up-coming Adobe Youth Voices here at PMM Girls AYV Site, (Jinja, Uganda, East Africa). We are organising a two day face-to-face workshop to prepare the AYV learners to create their own media. Bruno’s piece will come in handy to develop critical thinking of my learners.

For me, how deep Bruno digs as “C’mon now” would like it is not the concern, but the fact that a young girl of only 17 is already developing a critical mind and an early desire to change her community for the better through journalism is what counts most. She’ll certainly develop to do even greater things in future.


no disrespect to the director or the foundation, but c’mon now, this is hardly “child labor”. reminds me of kids in harlem selling bottled water or kids in the suburbs selling lemonade. just saying. dig deeper Bruna


This is a great way to promote global education and citizenship. Pearl Project has been proving to be an outstanding tool to develop critical thinking, as well as English learning. Congratulations to Bruna Santos, Claudia Batista and André Santos!


What a wonderful initiative. I trully believe that social-cultural programs in small scale such as this are the best way to help develop and better our society. Kudos to all involved in this article.

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