Most poor city dwellers live in slums called favelas. In some Brazilian cities, up to 30 percent of the people live in slums. Rio has nearly 300 favelas. Slum families crowd together in shacks made of cardboard, metal, or wood.
The favelas lack sewers and running water. Many people suffer from disease and malnutrition. The crime rate is high. Many poverty-stricken parents abandon their children because they cannot feed or clothe them. Every day, millions of children in Brazilian cities must beg, steal, or work long hours to get enough money to survive.
Many of these children have no homes. They sleep in doorways, on benches, or under trees.
The Brazilian government has torn down a number of favelas and replaced them with low-cost public housing. Public youth centers have taken in many abandoned children. But poverty remains a major problem.
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