ASILE Civil Society Group

Compassiva – Brazil

Description of organisation 

Compassiva is a social organisation serving children, young people, women and refugees living in situations of vulnerability in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. We are located in the centre of the city, strategically placed to serve our target public and for easy access for any person interested. We offer various courses and sociocultural activities, involving sports, arts and culture.

Compassiva started in 1990, through social action serving children living on the streets, drug users, transvestites and families in the local community. Since the beginning, many activities and socioeducational activities and projects involving sports, culture and arts have been developed. Action has also been taken to meet the most basic needs, offer guidance through personal problems, walk alongside families and facilitate reinsertion into the community. The teams worked in the centre of São Paulo, mainly in the neighbourhoods of Glicério, Luz and República, Vale do Anhangabaú, the area known as ‘Crackland’, and the main square in the neighbourhood of Sé. In 2005, the term ‘Compassiva’ was coined, but it only became the initiative’s official name in 2010. A few years later, in 2014, the Compassiva Association was registered as a legal entity, seeking the expansion and strengthening of the work through a process of structuring, professionalisation and officialization of the work taking place and of existing partnerships. Compassiva believes that effective social action shouldn’t be limited to impersonal transactional exchanges. Development going beyond the superficial is crucial – building bridges, healthy relationships and fraternal links which promote a deep understanding and awareness of the reality and context of those involved.

Compassiva’s mission is to demonstrate compassion for children, young people, women and refugees in vulnerable situations. Compassiva’s vision is to create opportunities for transforming the lives of people in vulnerabie situations.

Staff Profile

Mr. André Leitão

Founder of Compassiva

André Leitão has been working with refugee projects for the last ten years. His last work abroad was in Cairo, Egypt, with an NGO that worked with Sudanese refugees. He was responsible for the sports programme that used football to promote their social inclusion and evaluate their possible future opportunities. With colleagues he developed a tournament to promote integration between the refugees and the Egyptians. Once he came back to Brazil, he helped found Compassiva in order to serve the refugee community that was growing due to the Syrian conflict. The organisation has has four projects: Portuguese classes, support for finding work, social support and the validation of university degrees in partnership with UNHCR.