There is a 'stark difference' between Canada and the large urban centres and rural areas, compared to the places where the First Nations are located, in remote areas, with access only by air.
"There are two 'Canadians'. One that everyone knows, but then there is the First Nations, isolated, with no access by road, and in winter by ice roads, with a high rate of suicide among young people, with unemployment, without opportunities in terms of education, of socialisation given the small number of people in the reserves", said the social worker, born in Barcelos, district of Braga.
Another problem affecting indigenous communities in Canada "is the lack of access to drinking water," where food itself is not balanced given the lack of access to food such as "fruit and vegetables”.
Since 2016, 'First Nations Project' has been developing cultural and sports programmes in the First Nation of Attawapiskat, in northern Ontario, after that community declared a state of emergency, with 11 of its members attempting suicide in one week.
Given the restrictions due to the pandemic and the inability to travel to remote locations, the programmes implemented by the Toronto-based institution operate only in a "virtual" way, using social networks as a tool.
"We currently have a virtual dance programme in place, in collaboration with schools in the Greater Toronto Area and other educational institutions in the First Nations in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec. In addition to providing a physical education programme," explained Paulo Pereira, who moved to Canada 30 years ago.
After a return to normality, 'First Nations Project' plans in 2021 to return to Attawapiskat (Ontario), expand to Moosonee (Ontario), and God's Lake Narrows (Manitoba).