“Sometimes it calls upon a generation to be great – you can be that generation”. I’m looking at the CAFOD t-shirt with that great saying by Mandela and thinking over that past few days I have met the most amazing community leaders who are truly inspiring people
Marinaise is one of these inspiring people. She has been instrumental in the conversion of Favela Parc du Guard into a flats for 300 people, now known as just Parc du Guard.
Marinaise explained how they used to live and how they struggled over many years to get a proper roof over their heads and a community centre.
CAFOD’s partners APOIO (Brazilian for “support”) have trained and help mobilise many like Marinaise to fight against an unjust system where the poor are discriminated against again and again.
Experiencing so much pain
I also met other amazing community leaders working for change, who have experienced so much pain and are working to bring about change, such as Janaina Cristina da Silva who as a child selling sweets on the streets of Brasilia.
She came to Sao Paulo with her mother when she was 16 years old. However her mother was not around for long and soon she had to survive on her own in a big city without a home.
Janaina started to attend meetings of the homeless movement and got involved in campaigning for change.
She is now 20-years-old, has a roof over her head after years of unimaginable hardship, and is employed by CAFOD’s partners Apoio working in a night shelter for the homeless in Sao Paulo.
Janaina said in tears: “Before I couldn’t even dare to dream, but since being involved with Apoio, I have started to dream of a future.” She also likes English music and shares my own love of the group The Smiths!
Posted by TonyS