To mark World News Day on September 28, 2022, the World News Day campaign is sharing stories that have had a significant social impact. This particular story, which was shared by Rádio Gaúcha Zero Hora (Brazil), was published on June 24, 2022.
Just over half of the 1,800 daycare centers provided for in the federal government’s Proinfância program in Rio Grande do Sul were completed after 10 years.
Ten years later, just over half of the 1,800 daycare centers provided for in the federal government’s Proinfância program in Rio Grande do Sul were completed. While city administrations try to finish the works, the Ministry of Education announced it will prioritize new, not yet started projects.
The RBS Research Group visited eight unfinished schools, in the Metropolitan Area and on the North Coast. These summarize the dilemma faced by thousands of people who put off the dream of working outside the home because they have no one to leave their children with, even though they saw daycare centers being built – and then abandoned. Here are a few reports on the matter:
The municipality of the Metropolitan Area has one of the worst scenarios. Four architectural skeletons were abandoned between 2013 and 2015. The worst case is in Rincão da Madalena, where a school had just started its foundations, 7% of the work. Two others, in Loteamento Porto Seguro and in Morada do Vale III, reached half of the building works. Over time, weeds grew between rooms, tiles and window frames were stolen, buildings became homes for the homeless and the walls are covered in graffiti.
GZH located six of the children who could have enjoyed the daycare on Rua Aliança, in the Morada do Vale III neighborhood. Today they babysat by pedagogue Lisiane Fraga Trindade, as their parents have to work. The daycare was stuck at 52.8% of what was promised. The government transferred BRL 135,000, of the BRL 788,000 agreed.
Lisiane has twins Maurício and Murilo (10 months old) and also takes care of Laura Souza, Eduarda Magno, Gabrielli Oliveira Ribeiro, Eloá Costa, and Bryan Costa Nascimento – all in five-year-old range. All were potential daycare customers. Today they use the abandoned work site to play hide and seek.
– It became an animal dwelling. Even a dead dog was removed from there. There are also homeless people there,” says Lisiane.
Bryan, five years old, was always taken care of by his grandparents, Solange, and Luís Alberto Pons Nascimento. He should have taken advantage of the daycare on Rua Aliança. He lives in the house just opposite the site. Now, he and other children have found a place in the adjoining room of a nearby school, improvised in place of the day care center.
The same drama echoes on Rua Curumim, in Loteamento Porto Seguro. Homemaker Marilene Moretto takes care of her 18-month-old grandson Matheus, while his parents work. He has been on the waiting list for a neighborhood daycare since December. The daycare center construction started in the neighborhood by developers MVC had 54.1% of the construction carried out. It was budgeted at BRL 1.5 million, and the National Education Development Fund (FNDE) transferred only BRL 481,000. The works came to a halt in 2015.
— The abandoned building turned into a dump site. A shame. In the meantime, the boy has no one to stay with — says Marilene.
At least one of the interrupted MVC-developed schools was resumed in Gravataí. It is the day care center in the Morada do Vale II neighborhood, which is 90% built. The deadline for completion is six months. The FNDE even transferred BRL 1.3 million, out of the BRL 1.4 million forecast. Now the city administration will top up the necessary funds out of its own coffers.
The municipality of Gravataí also informs that it is studying the possibility of resuming the other abandoned daycare centers using a new constructive methodology, already used in other units. They are modular classrooms with structures in white concrete with fiberglass – which improves temperature and acoustics.
Guaíba had two daycare centers designed by MVC. Both were abandoned when about half of the work was built, more than eight years ago. One is in the Columbia subdivision. The other, in the Pedras Brancas neighborhood, two densely populated lower-middle-class areas. Both were budgeted at BRL 1.4 million each. The federal government transferred BRL 753,000 to each of them. The first reached 53% of the promised construction, the other was 56.4% finished.
Children who would benefit from the day care center in the Colúmbia subdivision, such as four-year-old Vicente Boeira, and his 11-year-old brother Miguel, are now babysat by their grandparents. Retiree Flávio Boeira recalls how the neighborhood’s mothers were filled with hope in the past decade, when the 250-capacity daycare center was announced.
“It was all great on paper. Workers were suddenly gone,” says Bernadette, a grandmother who spends the day with the children.
For a long time, saleswoman Valéria Machado Delfino, a resident of Osório, had no one to babysit her six-year-old son Bernardo. She would sometimes leave him with her mother Jucélia. Or with a babysitter, “even though I cannot afford it,” summarizes the salesperson.
Bernardo would only set foot in a daycare center when he was four years old. Before that, he spent time playing on the plot of land of what should have been a Proinfância daycare in the Medianeira neighborhood. The daycare started to be built in March 2014. It was interrupted in January 2015, with 37.05% of the work completed. Since then, it has become a place for children to play and a home for the homeless.
The FNDE reports having transferred BRL 752,000 of the BRL 1.5 million agreed with the Osório Administration, which claims to have returned BRL 303,000 to the Federal Government, after MVC abandoned the work. Due to the degradation of the building, thefts and depredations, the city government tried to change the methodology to the conventional use of bricks. This became unfeasible, because the concrete base of the MVC school was designed for fiberglass and not for masonry, explains Osório’s Secretary of Education, Dilson Maciel. The weight would be too much, and the additional cost would not be worth it.
The decision was to demolish what was left of the fiber walls. The city government filed a lawsuit to try to obtain compensation, to be paid by the construction company.
The ground of what should have been one of the main daycare centers in Cidreira, on the North Coast, became a city square. Tired of waiting for a building that was never built, the residents of Vila Nazaré took part of the material abandoned by the construction company MVC to transform into a playground. The fiberglass slats gave rise to swings, some became trash cans and flower boxes.
The FNDE transferred BRL 428,000 to the Cidreira Administration for the construction of the school, which represents more than half of the BRL 790,000 planned for the work. But the construction stopped at 9% of the total agreed. The city administration is thinking about building another day care center, but without taking advantage of the structure left by MVC.
— The base became rusted. And what was left of the work, on the surface, was stolen — confirms Osório’s Secretary of Education, Mercedes Giroleti.
Construction worker Igor Pereló de Fraga was also impacted. The daycare would take in his nine-year-old daughter Maria. But it stopped being built when it was still just on the floor level.
— One day, workers simply left and never came back. And Maria was left without daycare. She even cut her foot when she bumped into one of those fiber and plastic structures they have left behind. Then she was taken care of by my wife, without having anywhere to study when she was little. As everything was abandoned, the people turned it into a square — described Igor.
Secretary Mercedes says that the city administration wants to resume the work. It just does not know for how much money and when.
Terra de Areia
Obscene graffiti, used condoms, snakes… The premises of the Parque Aliança Early Childhood Education School, close to the central area of Terra de Areia, have a little bit of everything. Except students. It has never opened. Construction stopped when it reached 34.48% of the forecast in 2014. Since then, the floor and walls have remained, which are being depredated more and more every day.
— Unfortunately, it became a point of trafficking, prostitution, and a target of depredation. It is a shame. Who are we going to hold responsible for this? — asks businessowner Janete Cardoso Eberhardt.
Janete lives half a block away from the abandoned school and has three children who could have gone to the daycare center: Laura, 12, Gustavo, 9, and Luísa, 6. She and the children’s father, Sérgio Eberhardt, had to take their children to rooms rented by the city administration, in a more distant location.
A similar situation occurred with the employee of a funeral home, Juliana Cruz da Silveira. Only a little worse. With nowhere to leave her eight-year-old daughter Iara, when she was young, Juliana had to stop working. She could only return to work a short time ago.
The FNDE says it transferred BRL 395,000 of the BRL 790,000 planned for the work. The city government filed a lawsuit against the construction company, and, in the absence of day care centers, rooms were rented around the city to house the children.
Two babysitters, a veteran and a novice, take turns at the home of businessowner Tiago Borges and his wife, physical therapist Rosana Mengue Borges. That is because daycare centers in the coastal city of Três Cachoeiras are insufficient. In the absence of anyone to leave their 18-month-old son Vicente with, the couple has to pay for babysitters.
They live 20 meters from an abandoned structure that should have become a daycare, built by MVC. The work began in 2014 and should have been completed the following year. Vicente was still just a project in his parents’ minds, but they were already counting on using the center as soon as he was born. They and hundreds of other Três Cachoeiras residents.
— However, in the middle of the last decade, the work mysteriously stopped. We even thought it would restart, with construction material piled up on the concrete floor. Vicente was born, he is of daycare age, but there is no sign of a center there — says Borges.
The FNDE transferred BRL 395,000 of the BRL 790,000 planned for the work. The contractor made 40.4% of what was agreed and quit. Today, only the floor is usable, describes mayor Flávio Lipert. The fiber part was removed by the city workers and left on the ground.
— The city administration filed a lawsuit against the company. Until a sentence is issued, the FNDE is not willing to transfer new funds. Our only solution is building a new daycare with our own funds – complains Lipert.