Vera Regina Gaensly Cordeiro

Ashoka Fellow
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fellow Since 1992


This profile was prepared when Vera Regina Gaensly Cordeiro was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1992.
The New Idea
As a doctor in one of Rio de Janeiro's largest government hospitals, Vera experienced the misery-illness-hospital-misery-death cycle that condemns so many poor children time after time. She also learned how limited the human and material resources available to break this cycle were. She found that small and subtle changes and that providing critical support to these children's families could offer an escape from this cycle of misery. Children were returning to the hospital because they lacked vital necessities: shelter, post operative treatment, nutritious food. By making it possible for them to obtain these necessities, they could escape the cycle of return and decline. In October 1991, Vera and a volunteer coalition of professionals including doctors and nurses, psychologists, lawyers, and homemakers set up Associação Saúde Criança. It seeks to provide patient families with the support they need in order to create the best environment for discharged children, who are either convalescing from an acute illness or have a terminal illness but are receiving outpatient care.
Associação Saúde Criança is a nonprofit, volunteer, membership network of committed individuals who devise alternative systems of aftercare, provide free professional and other services, and lead fundraising efforts.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person


Featured in Who Cares? documentary (2013) Featured in How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein (2007, updated edition)

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