As a successful entrepreneur, Gracielle, 34, turned adversity into opportunity. Five years ago, she arrived at the Dara Institute (formerly Saúde Criança) with her three sick children, struggling to buy medicine and pay for transportation to the hospital. However, she was not discouraged and with the support of the Institute she faced the challenges and went in search of new projects. She completed hairdressing, colorimetry and manicure courses in the Profession Program at the Dara Institute. “I set up a salon on the first floor of my house in 2015 and I am working. Nowadays, I am able to give a better life to my children and myself”, Gracielle, who is studying Pedagogy and is a volunteer in the recreation of the Dara Institute, says proudly.
In early 2013, just before joining the Dara Institute, Isabel, Gracielle’s youngest daughter, with only one year of age, was hospitalized twice for complications of bronchial asthma and rhinitis, in addition to anemia. The other two children were also being treated at Hospital da Lagoa. Sarah, then three years old, was accompanied by several specialists because she was born with hydrocephalus and Samuel, the older brother, then eight years old, was undergoing outpatient treatment with bronchial asthma. This mother’s despair was so great that she only wanted and asked for help with medication and transportation.
With basic needs guaranteed and with the elaboration of the Plano de Ação Familiar (PAF – Family Action Plan) in partnership with Dara’s multidisciplinary team, Gracielle was able to breath a bit and become more aware of her possibilities, enabling her to seek her autonomy. In addition to becoming professional and going back to school to finish high school, she managed to get Isabel’s paternal grandmother to donate to the family the house where they already lived temporarily. Everyone was very happy with their own home in the Santa Cruz da Serra neighborhood, in Duque de Caxias (RJ), renovated by the Housing Program.
In early 2017, the family reached the five goals of the Plano de Ação Familiar (PAF – Family Action Plan): health, citizenship, education, income and housing. Children are in more stable health and all are enrolled in school. The family income, which came only from her father’s salary, Silas, as a general services assistant, and a Social Security (INSS) benefit that Sarah receives, was increased by Gracielle’s entrepreneurial work.
Gradually, she improved living conditions, expanded the beauty salon and now dreams of a new profession. “I want to graduate as a pedagogue to work in hospitals or institutions like the Dara Institute to help special children. This desire arose when I saw my daughter Sarah with learning difficulties. When I took courses here, I also saw many children with special needs. So, now that I can and I’m studying, I decided to volunteer for recreation activities”.