“Devemos promover a coragem onde há medo, promover o acordo onde existe conflito, e inspirar esperança onde há desespero”.

Nelson Mandela

Aspen Pharma's Brazilian-based business has embraced 2012 Mandela Day by electing to support the underpriviledged children from Cidade de Deus in Rio de Janeiro.

The children of Cidade de Deus are subjected to extreme poverty and anti-social activities, and a social programme has been drawn up to provide some 300 children with an opportunity to have some fun and experience joy as kids should - albeit only for the day.

Supermarket Mundial have partnered with Aspen Pharma and will assist by starting off the day of fun by providing the children with breakfast. Recreational activities will follow offering the kids an array of fun options including a project presentation by Alexandre França, the Chief Executive of Aspen Pharma. Paediatrician, Dr Edmilson Migowisk, will also be presenting a discussion on infectious diseases and health management.

Aspen Pharma has arranged a special lunch for the kids, which will be followed by a talk from Nutritionist Vanessa Portela. Part of the educational programme also includes a discussion and activities concerning recycling and preserving the environment. The day's activities are expected to conclude when exhausted children receive the toys and gifts that have been collected and donated by Aspen Pharma's employees.

About Cidade de Deus

Cidade de Deus is part of the borough of Jacarepaguá, in the Western Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.The neighbourhood was founded in 1960, planned and executed by the state government  as part of the policy to systematically remove 23 slums from the center of Rio de Janeiro and resettle their inhabitants in the suburbs.

The area has suffered greatly from the drug trade and power struggles between rival criminal gangs. In 2002, the success of the film City of God placed the neighborhood in the media spotlight and reinforced the image of a violent and dangerous community.

Conditions in Cidade de Deus began to change after the implementation of the Police Pacification Unit (UPP) n February of 2009. Through a model of community policing, more than 200 recently graduated police officers have been deployed to maintain order and ensure that approximately 70.000 residents can live in safety, without having to abide to the rules of drug gangs.

A year after the implementation of the UPP there are no more regular shootings in Cidade de Deus, but there is still a lack of infrastructure. In June of 2010, Brazilian television also showed images that confirmed that the drug market still exists in the region. But despite all of this, there are some promising results. The number of arrests in the area increased 550% and school attendance increased 30%. Homicides rates fell 82% and thefts 83%. Furthermore, 93% of citizens approve the UPP’s presence and 68% are afraid that drug trafficking will return.

The Community Committee of Cidade de Deus/Cidade de Deus Agency and Local Development (NGO’s, religious institutions and residents) are working together for better living conditions and to establish a dialogue with various level of government. These organizations have created a list of 14 community priorities for the Social UPP including the need for good community communication, with a recommendation to strengthen the community website of Cidade de Deus. Other priorities include recommendations on culture, environment and education. Another major priority is the need for a public high school that provides morning, afternoon and evening classes. Currently, Cidade de Deus only has one high school.