By guest editor Kieran Tildesley
England travel south to Sao Paulo to face Uruguay in their second group game, Brazil’s and South America’s largest City where around 18 million people live. Many of these 18 million people live in Favelas, otherwise known as shanty towns as they are unable to afford safe and secure housing.
The work of CAFOD and our partners within Sao Paulo has been crucial for many families living there. Stopping the eviction of 2,700 families across the city as well as giving 3,100 families access to housing support, sanitation, water and electricity has been part of the crucial work CAFOD is doing.
In the Mauá community, 237 families had been fighting to secure permanent housing after they had moved into, and renovated, the abandoned Mauá building in 2007. Although the Mauá building had been vacant for over 17 years due to the luxury hotel business it once was failing, previous owners were still able to push eviction orders in light of the current world cup.
However, through our Connect2 Brazil project, parishes in England and Wales have been following and supporting the Mauá community since 2010, and hundreds of campaigners signed a petition in summer 2012 which helped to fight off a previous eviction order. Thanks to this generous effort, this fight ended in victory after the Municipal government handed over £3 million in order to purchase the Mauá building.
Although this one fight was won, many more people within Sao Paulo are at risk of becoming homeless or have been evicted from their homes due to preparations for the world cup. In Sao Paulo alone, over 18,000 families were evicted from their homes in order to make way for the construction of the Arena de Sao Paulo, and the highway that links it to other parts of the city and further.
MDF, one of CAFOD’s partners has been working within favelas for over 30 years, and has expanded its operations from just 3 favelas to 40. In some favelas, MDF’s work has meant that things such as paving in the streets, sewage and electricity had been provided by the government, creating a better lifestyle for all residents of the favelas. MDF has further been able to gain some favelas residents the certificate of ownership for their properties, meaning that eviction from their homes is no longer the case.
Please Stand By Brazil by adding your name to our petition to support the rights of poor communities. We love football in the Leeds office but we don’t think it should be played at the expense of people living in poverty.