Lifesaver for ages 9 & up - Brazil: Protect Amazon activist Laísa Santos Sampaio
Laísa Santos Sampaio is a teacher in northern Brazil. She is also a campaigner for sustainable development of forest resources. She is often threatened for that activism. © Esther Gillingham/CAFOD
Laísa Santos Sampaio is a school teacher. She lives in the Amazon rain forest in northern Brazil.
Laísa (pronounced la ee sa) is part of a group that defends the environment by campaigning against illegal logging in the region. Laísa wants the logging to stop because it is destroying the forest habitat that is so important to the Indigenous peoples and wildlife of the Amazon.
|Laísa (far right) works with other women to produce cosmetics, medicines and ointments from forest fruits and nuts. © Amnesty International|
Many people think that Laísa’s work to protect the Amazon rain forest is very important, but illegal loggers disagree and this puts Laísa in real danger. People who don’t agree with her work have threatened Laísa and her family for years. In 2011, her sister and brother-in-law—also environmental activists—were killed for standing up for the Amazon. The person accused of ordering their deaths was not arrested and Laísa believes he is one of the people who continue to threaten her.
Human rights defenders play an important part in making sure that economic activities, like logging, are sustainable and good for society. Laisa’s right to speak out must be protected.
Laísa is very scared. Since the police haven’t helped to protect her, she has had to leave her home and community in order to live in a place where she will be safe.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Please write a letter to the Governor of Laísa’s state.
- Start with Dear Governor Simão Robison Oliveira Jatene.
- In your first sentence, tell the Governor something about yourself.
- Explain that Laísa Santos Sampaio is a schoolteacher and environmental activist from the Praia Alta Piranheira settlement, Pará State and describe your concern that she has been threatened often for her work to defend the Amazon rainforest.
- Let the Governor know that Laísa is so afraid for her life that she has had to leave her home to seek safety.
- In your last sentence, ask the Governor to find effective ways to protect her so that she can live and work without fear. One way is to investigate all the threats made against Laísa and if anyone is found to be responsible for them, they must be punished.
WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?
Governador Simão Robison Oliveira Jatene
Palácio dos Despachos
Rod. Augusto Montenegro, km 9 Coqueiro - Belém-PA
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Let’s make a tree for Laísa and her colleagues! It would boost their spirits to receive a message from you. Knowing that people outside Brazil support their efforts to protect the rain forest will increase their determination. On a piece of paper, draw a large leaf and colour it if you wish. Write your message of support on it. Include your name, your town and anything else about you that you want to share with them – like your age and whether you enjoy a special tree in your yard or neighbourhood.
Mail your leaf to:
312 Laurier Avenue East
Ottawa ON K1N 1H9
In April, we will make a tree out of all the leaves and send it to Laísa.