President Dilma Rousseff said Monday that Brazil's 10-year-old Bolsa Familia (Family Purse) program, with which the government subsidizes people sunk in poverty, has "forever changed millions of lives in Brazil."

The president used her weekly program to talk about the plan, considered one of the flagship measures of her government and which was launched in 2003 during the administration of her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff said that this vast program of wealth distribution "today benefits 13.8 million families, which represents some 50 million people who have been allowed to live with dignity and find a better life."

The plan benefits families with a monthly income of up to 140 reais ($60) per person, who receive government allocations that vary from case to case and can even double that amount of income.

In the last 10 years the program has allowed Brazil "to reduce poverty as no other country in the world has done," the president said.

Rousseff recalled that to obtain these subsidies, families must keep their children in school and make them have regular medical checkups, among other requirements.

Without giving precise figures, the president said that these requirements have brought about a "big reduction" in school dropout rates and have contributed to the reduction of infant mortality "by some 40 percent over the last decade." EFE