Brazil finds itself in sorrow. A natural disaster unlike any witnessed in decades has struck the heart of Rio Grande do Sul.

It began on April 29th when a series of storms unleashed fury upon the state in southern Brazil. Rivers swelled, bursting their banks, and the onslaught of water engulfed thousands of homes. The capital city, Porto Alegre, finds itself submerged under 2 meters (6.5 feet) of water, with the water level of its lagoon rising by 5 meters (16 feet). As of publication, the floods have ravaged 345 cities and towns, affecting the lives of more than 880,000 people. Among them, more than 120,000 have been displaced from the places they once called home, forced to flee from where cherished memories were etched. There have been 83 deaths confirmed — so far. [1]

Amidst this tragedy, the volunteers, coordinators, and staff of Students For Liberty have emerged as pillars of hope and resilience. For more than a decade, these individuals in Rio Grande do Sul have been at the forefront of the fight for freedom in Brazil and beyond. Today, as their communities struggle to recover from the disaster, their unwavering spirit shines brighter than ever.

One example is Gustavo Fernandes, an alumnus who is leading a team of volunteers into the heart of the devastation. Despite the risks, Gustavo and his team are working to rescue those still trapped by the floodwaters, using boats, jet skis, and any means necessary.

Also, Bruna Tomasi and Ornella di Lorenzo, a local coordinator and an alum, are mobilizing essential supplies to help those in need. Despite the challenges posed by the rising floodwaters and the threat of looters, Bruna and Ornella are working to procure hygiene products, mattresses, and clothing to comfort those who have lost everything.

Adriana Schumacher, an SFL staffer, is also doing her part to help those affected by the disaster. Adriana and her team of volunteers are working to provide hot meals to those who are now living in temporary shelters. Adriana’s commitment to serving her community is an inspiration to us all.

These are just some examples of the SFLers who are making a difference in the lives of those affected by the floods. They have taken matters into their own hands, not waiting for the state to come to the rescue. Together, they stand united, their resolve unyielding, as they confront the challenges that lie ahead.

Even before this disaster, though, they demonstrated the value of a network of liberty leaders; the region has historically produced great leaders in the fight against tyranny and for liberty.

A month ago, for example, they hosted the Forum da Liberdade, which attracted more than 6,000 attendees. Gianluca Lorenzon, an alumnus and former staffer of SFL, was responsible for passing the Brazilian Bill of Economic Rights — legislation that will generate more than 10 million job opportunities in a decade. And Giuseppe Riesgo and Fabio Ostermann were state congressmen until 2022 in Rio Grande do Sul. They scrutinized the governor’s expenses and defended liberty in the State Assembly.

Also from Rio Grande do Sul, two of the biggest student groups in Brazil, Clube Farroupilha and Instituto Atlantos, have emerged. Thanks to them, thousands of people have been introduced to the ideas of liberty.

But now, they need your help. Your generosity can make a world of difference. With each donation, you can offer hope and healing to those who have lost everything. A donation of $35 can buy a mattress, $3 can provide a nourishing meal, and $10 can buy a bundle of clothing. There are many ways to help, and every dollar counts. Through this link, you can donate so we can keep helping those in need.

Let’s rally behind the courageous leaders of SFL as they serve as beacons of hope in these dark times. The road ahead will be challenging, but with your support, we can rebuild, heal, and emerge stronger than ever before. Thank you for your generosity and your commitment to making a difference.