Carlos dos Santos
This profile was prepared when Carlos dos Santos was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1991.
The New Idea
Despite the fact that Brazil will probably never fight a war, and now has a civilian government firmly in control, it still has a very large military establishment with tens of thousands of underutilized men in bases throughout the country. Many of these bases are in areas where there are concentrations of poverty, and street children abound. Carlos's simple idea is to use the bases and their facilities, as well as volunteer military personnel, to provide the children with meals, education, organized sporting activities, counseling, and vocational training. Ultimately, Carlos's Pro Menor program will help the children to find jobs and become productive members of society. It also is helping the soldiers and their families to move beyond negative stereotypes and put the issue of street children on the forefront of their minds.