In 2008, residents united to found the community of Vila Esperança where over one thousand families live today. Located in the district of Pau da Lima, in Salvador Brazil, the hilly region divides the residents between an upper and lower area.
The upper part has the only paved road in the community, with the majority of houses built from stone, and is the location of Association of the Residents of Vila Esperança. Descending the steps to the lower area, one will encounter makeshift dwellings made of wood, plastic, and other materials.
Deprived of nearly all public services, just a few houses have regular electricity. The absence of basic sanitation, treated water, and trash collection is a constant challenge in the lives of the residents. One of the main difficulties is in regard to access.
A large part of the roads do not have adequate stairs, making it difficult for anyone to get around, especially children and elderly. Much of the land is in a high risk region and, with the onset of the rain season, landslides invade the houses and bring a lot of trash down to the lower part.
To make this reality more bearable, the non-governmental organization Teto (“Roof”) has raised money through the crowdfunding platform Catarse. It aims for its work in Vila Esperança to improve the lives of many families that live in extreme poverty.
The goal is to build seven emergency houses for the residents of this neighborhood who live in extremely dangerous situations. The campaign on Catarse will go until June 21, and hopes to raise R$ 41,182 (13,100 USD). By the writing of this post, it had raised R$ 9.155 (2,900 USD). It is possible to contribute an amount starting at R$ 25 (7.95 USD).
“We are looking to mobilize these residents to exercise daily actions of development in this community. In addition to the residents, about 100 youths will also have the opportunity to do volunteer work that will see this community through. They will work shoulder to shoulder with these residents in the construction of new homes,” highlights Teto on their website.
Operations in the Northeast
In 2014, Teto began its operations in one of the regions in Brazil with the highest index of absolute poverty: the Northeast. “As Bahia is among the most poor states in the region, we decided to begin our activities there. In June of the same year, volunteers Henrique Chan and Gabriele Tiemy disembarked for Salvador to set up another headquarter for the organization.
The first community chosen by the organization was the City of Plástico, located in the district of Periperi. There, they constructed eighteen emergency homes and mobilized around 200 volunteers. A video of the work can be found here.
In November 2014, the headquarters obtained a physical space, making it possible to sustain and grow their work. Teto in Bahia currently has twenty-five volunteers working in the office and over 800 youths in activities. Teto is considered an “Organization for civil society and public interest” (Oscip). It looks to improve extreme poverty across Latin America by means of collaboration between youth volunteers and the residents of dangerous settlements.
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Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.