Biography of Zilda Arns Neumann (1934-VVVV)

Brazilian pediatrician, born in Forquilhinha (Santa Catarina) on August 25, 1934, founder and national coordinator of the Pastoral of the child, Agency for social action of the National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil.

Zilda Arns began his training in his hometown to follow then the studies of medicine in Curitiba. After graduating in 1959, he/she specialized in physical education and Social Paediatrics and began his professional life as children's hospital pediatrician Cezar Pernetta of Curitiba (PR), where he/she worked from 1955 until 1964. Mother of five children, widowed in 1978.

In 1983, and with the support of his brother Paulo Evaristo Arns, Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo, Arns launched the Pastoral of the child of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil. For their participation at the head of this organism in countless national and international events, Zilda Arns received several awards. In 2001 the Brazilian delegation of the UN granted the human rights award and twice (2000 and 2001) was proposed by the Brazilian Government for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Pastoral of the child monthly serves one million families, in one of 5,300 municipalities of Brazil, delivering death to more than 5,000 children each year. Its action is carried out by 150,000 volunteers across the country, 90% of whom are poor and black. In addition to the scope of poverty, work covers the formation of the person and prevention of more common diseases - such as dehydration and respiratory problems - in very simple programs. Thanks to these actions, infant mortality has been reduced in the municipalities in which the Pastoral of the child is operating, 34.6 to 13 for every thousand births. The program has also been implemented in 13 countries in South America, Africa and Asia.