A girl, a story and a reason to celebrate

Meet Ianca Silva, who has attended the ‘Living & Learning’ Project for the last five years. Her story is both humbling and inspirational to all who work to support her and other youngsters.

Well done Iance everyone is proud of your achievements.

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My House My Life…

Official Logo for the programme

News of Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House My Life) was a reassuring find; something to counter the inhumanity of the forced evictions I have been reading and blogging about.

Set up in 2009 by the Federal Government, it is one strand of an ambitious social development programme, in this case to provide housing stock and the opportunity for home ownership for low income families.
Once accepted onto the means tested scheme families can access preferential mortgages and tax exemptions and they need not make any payment until they have moved in.
Sounds good!
Building capital is raised in part through private investment; soon I came across an opportunity to invest with ‘Ecohouse Developments’, a UK linked company licensed to carry out building programmes and offering a 20% annual return on a minimum £2300(This is the cost of one house).

The company website has images of its housing development “just” outside the city of Natal in the North East of Brazil.
I was dismayed to see how tightly packed and uniform the houses are and thought what a challenge to make these feel like a home, and could not but wonder how long before estates such as this become a ghetto. I have been trying to work out where the 20% ROI comes from and it must be paid by the family who buy the house.
Am I right in this ?
Next I Learnt that ‘ICI’ a Toronto based company have signed an agreement to supply pre-fabricated housing to meet the needs of communities displaced by the developemtns for the World Cup and Olympic Games.
And now I am not so reassured about the My House My Life programme.


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Olympics and World Cup bring misery to families

News that Brazil was to host the Olympics and the World Cup was hailed as a coup and another indication of Brazil’s rising global status. I too thought it a cause for celebration as it would generate employment and cause a feel good factor. That was before I came across news of families being forcibly evicted and their homes demolished to make way for new infrastructure.
Given the need for new access roads and sports venues the demolition of homes is probably an unavoidable evil, but the disturbing thing is the way the evictions are being carried out,
“flies in the face of the very values the Olympics stand for.”
So ran the arguement posed to the IOC by Amnesty International and other organisations representing the families.
Families usually recieve little notice of eviction, and if offered alternate housing it is often far from their place of work. Any offer of financial compensation is usually insufficient to buy another house and often payment is delayed. Parents also find it difficult to find new schools for their children which disrupts their education.
I am reminded of a comment from one of the children in the Living and Learning project who some months ago when asked his view about news of the big events translated as “The World Cup and the Olympics are not for us.”

Amnesty International

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Have you heard..a round up of bits and pieces of news

For some time I have been using news’ aggregators to gain  an  overview  of  Brazil’s journey to the centre of the world  stage. Interest, because of partners  in Brazil,  is what drives me along with the desire to  comment from an informed position. In the course of a week  I burrow down into stories which either nicely confirm a train of thought or more commonly and more uncomfortably  completely throw it off track!

I am struck by the lack of coverage of news from  Brazil in particular and South America in general.
An example is the absence of coverage of the Pan American Games, hosted this year  by Mexico, they  take place every four years in the year preceding  the Olympics. The closing ceremony was Sunday after close to  6,000 athletes from 42 nations  competed in 36 different sports.

Have you heard ? Probably not that Brazil came 2nd overall and 3rd in the Gold medal table following the United States(92) and Cuba(58) with success mainly in athletics,  swimming , gymnastics and  judo events. Brazil has steadily risen up the table to consolidate its place in the top three,  alongside the USA and Cuba.

Have you heard ? Brazilian competitors in the World Bull Riding Championships 2011, which finished on Sunday, had brazilian riders placed 1st second,third,fourth and fifth.

So, though proving their ability in modern sporting events their cultural roots are very evident.


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