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Retratos de Esperança

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One of the most suffered regions in Brazil. Entire families in extreme poverty. Without any assistance, they survive on leftovers, and the great majority of them suffer from hunger and hopelessness. Through photographs this sad reality can begin to take a new direction. A book, composed of 84 photographs recorded between 2010 and 2017 became the project Portraits of Hope, which was born due to the urgency of the awakening of humanity with the already known situation of the municipalities of the state and the need to return to those photographed.

Bismarck Araujo is the young photographer of these portraits. From Retirolândia-Ba, he registers in the lens of his camera, the poverty of the Backlands of his state, in the memory of his memories, the suffered and poor childhood, and in his heart, the courage, to start alone to change all this sad history.

Developed based on two-hour lectures about the life history of the people and places he photographed, the photographer introduces students from public and private schools to the awakening of feelings of humanity, solidarity, and compassion, and the importance of sharing, visiting, and paying attention to others.

More than 200 lectures Portraits of Hope have already been given throughout Brazil highlighting the essence of the project. Through them it disseminates, with humanity and spirituality, the message of hope in the transformation of lives with the project. With the participation of approximately six thousand students, thousands of food items have already been collected and distributed in the municipalities or where the people photographed by the project live.

A former public-school student, who had no sandals or notebook to go to school, seeks improvements in housing conditions, via the construction and renovation of houses for those living in extreme poverty. “This situation in the state of Bahia needs to be seen, the human being needs to have visible knowledge of this very close, but often forgotten, ignored, or hidden existence,” Bismarck dejects.

The memory is of a childhood marked by suffering and struggles, and of a message from his mother: “If things get tough today, do the right thing.  He says that he was beaten at school for not wanting to use drugs. “It wasn’t the right thing, and my mother is my example, she would split an egg between me, and my brother and she would get hungry.”

Wagner Moura, founder, and president of Fraternity without Borders visited the backlands of Bahia together with the photographer and volunteers of the project and is touched by the situation.  “It is an extraordinary work and I see how important the feeling of fraternity and the exercise of love is. We are launching this campaign that really calls us to a better world, of peace for all.”

In this matter, his project, and now of all of us, is another new embrace of Fraternity without Borders. And we dream together to change this sad reality.

A house built

The first house built – with funds from book sales and donations – was delivered at the end of March 2018, to a family composed of eight people who lived in canvas shacks inside the garbage dump in Santa Luz-BA. Mrs. Maria still lives in the shack.

Mrs. Maria

Photo: Bismark

Canvas shacks from the garbage dump in Santa Luz has been Mrs. Maria’s home for approximately 20 years. In March 2018, she and seven other people in her family including son, daughters, son-in-law, and grandson received a house from Portraits of Hope to get out of that situation. Today everyone lives in the house except for Mrs. Maria, who cannot leave her dogs and cats abandoned in the dump.

About 50 animals – the ones she already raises and the ones that are being abandoned – supported and cared for by Mrs. Maria, are her companions. Sorriso (Smile), one of her dogs, rescues the helpless animals left, in most cases, in plastic bags, and takes them to her.

While sorting recyclable garbage, Mrs. Maria also looks for food scraps and garbage to feed her dogs. When the animals get sick, the same medicines she uses are given to her dogs.

Drought in Bahia

Bahia is the fifth Brazilian state in terms of territorial extension, possessing more than 36% of the total area of the Northeast Region and about 80% of its territorial area is in the semi-arid region, with 57% of its territory within the “polygon of droughts”.

It is the Brazilian state with the highest concentration of people living in extreme poverty – more than 2.4 million Bahian citizens live in misery – according to data from the Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger (IBGE, Demographic Census 2010).


Help us build a kennel for Mrs. Maria.

Currently, she receives 40 reais per week from recycling products. With this money she tries to support herself and raise all these animals. She continues to struggle and despite the difficulties nothing makes her think of giving up. Moved by the reality of the place, we created a campaign to build a kennel, where she can continue taking care of them and receive a salary.

Donate the amount you can in one of the accounts below the FWB and, please, send the receipt to the e-mail:, informing that it is intended for the Portraits of Hope project.

Portraits of Hope Account 🖐:

Sicoob Bank

Bank: 756

Branch: 3017

Account: 427136

CNPJ 30.400.754/0001-08