Brazil Pays Parents to Help Poor Be Pupils, Not Wage Earners Promoting Human Capital By Celia W. Dugger New York Times, January 3, 2004 ORTALEZA, Brazil – Vandelson Andrade, 13, often used to skip school to work 12-hour days on the small, graceful fishing boats that sail from the picturesque harbor here. His meager earnings helped pay for rice and beans for his desperately poor family. But this year he qualified for a small monthly cash payment from the government that his mother receives on the condition that he shows up in the classroom. “I can’t skip school anymore,” said Vandelson, whose hand-me-down pants were so big that the crotch ended at his knees and the legs bunched up around his ankles. “If I miss one more day, my mother won’t get the money.” This year, Vandelson will finally pass the fourth grade on his third try – a small victory in a new breed of social program that is spreading swiftly across Latin America. It is a developing-country version of American welfare reform: to break the cycle of poverty, the government gives
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