Grandma Margaret is Brazil bound to help families in poverty and despair

Margaret Randall who is planning her fourth and final mercy mission to Brazil to help deprived families
Margaret Randall who is planning her fourth and final mercy mission to Brazil to help deprived families

The deprivation and abuse of millions of families in Brazil touched Margaret Randall's heart so much she is making her fourth journey there to do her bit to help make their lives better.

It will be her fourth visit to the country but her first time in Rio de Janeiro where she will be among a team of volunteers from Mission Direct who will be renovating an old church building into a centre for teaching adults and children.

They will be working in partnership with a group called CADI who want to teach people a range of skills such as crafts, sewing, robotics and IT in the hope they can put use these to earn a small income and prevent them from entering the world of drugs and sex exploitation which is rife.

Margaret of Colne said: "When you see pictures on television about the terrible living conditions of people in India, Africa, Brazil, and other places, it is relatively easy to switch off the TV, walk away, and do nothing.

"I’ve even done that myself. But when you have stood in their homes and talked with them; when you have played with the children, and listened to their harrowing stories of how they were abused and violated; when you have seen and felt their hopelessness then you cannot walk away and do nothing.

"That is when it breaks your heart."

It is estimated that around 12 million people are living on the streets of Brazil and up to 60 % of the populations exists below the poverty line.

Timbau Hill, the area where Margaret will be working, is ruled by a drug baron, and up to 7,000 people live in shoddy buildings piled on top of one another up a hillside with no running water or proper sanitation. It is one of 16 similar communities in Rio were drug trafficking, crime and gang fights are common.

Margaret added: "These people live in fear of losing what little they possess. They forage in other people’s rubbish for anything that might bring a little cash.

"Their children are used by drug barons to run errands. Most of the children are taking drugs by the age of nine and adults frequently turn to drugs, alcohol or crime in order to make life bearable, or take away the pain and shame."

On previous trips the grandmother-of-two, who is now in her 70s and a member of The Mission Church in Goitside, Nelson, was part of a team who helped to build homes and a community centre in Campo Largo.

Sadly for Margaret this will be her last journey to Brazil due to health issues and also the cost of each trip which is around £2,000. But she will continue to raise funds from home for the projects that are so dear to her heart.

She said: "As this is my farewell I will be visiting the families I worked with on previous occasions and also check on the building projects I was engaged in."

On Friday (March 24th) Margaret has organised a Sponsored Cardboard City Sleepout to help raise funds at The Mission in Nelson.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so by at The Mission, Goitside, Nelson, BB9 7XD (labelled Brazil), or you could pay directly into a Santander Everyday Saver account set up specially for Brazil in the name of Mrs M A Randall, (Sort code 09 01 26 Acc no 28635955).