Anna Paula and her 3 month old daughter Alexandra Victoria in front of their home in Electropaulo Favela
Tony Sheen is CAFOD’s Community Participation Coordinator for Westminster Diocese. Here he looks back on a memorable visit to São Paulo’s favelas, and explains how seeing the Church ‘in action’ helping those in need continues to inspire him.
Four years ago London was brimming with excitement when the Olympic Games arrived; a few special weeks which managed to bring out the best in Londoners. The eyes of the world are now on Brazil, where the 2016 Olympics kicked off last week.
This Olympics, CAFOD are shining a light on Brazil’s poorest communities
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit São Paulo and meet some of the people supported by CAFOD’s partners. Early one morning I was collected by Heluiza and Osmar from our partner APOIO to visit a shanty town to the east of the city called Electropaulo Favela, where over 1200 families live in abject poverty.
Maristely, centre, leaning on a water butt at a workshop learning how to conserve water.
Maristely is the narrator of one of our Connect2: Brazil partners. She is currently a student in her final year at university, but alongside her studies she continues to participate in activities to defend the rights of people living in favelas and poor informal settlements with our partner, Movement for the Defence of Favelas (MDF) in São Paulo. Here Maristely talks about the 2016 Olympics taking place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil this summer.
“On the sporting front, there is anxiety in making sure the Olympic Games take place. But the way these Games will happen is depressing.
Since the World Cup and the Olympic Games were first announced in Brazil these kinds of mega sporting events were seen as opportunities for improvements in basic infrastructure of the country, but in the preparation process, there has been little space for civil society participation and technical experts who know about urban development were not involved in the discussions.
Find out about Connect2: Brazil and how your parish can get involved
As the deadline approaches, there is a need for an accelerated release of funds to ensure that the games take place and that the infrastructure is ready. This leads to works that are not ready in time and rushed through quickly, resulting in the removal of poor urban inhabitants from good locations.
Esther Gillingham is CAFOD’s Brazil Programme Officer. As the Olympic Games get underway in Rio, this World Indigenous Day (9 August) Esther turns the spotlight on our work with Brazil’s indigenous peoples.
Brazil is once again under the world’s spotlight. Just two years ago, Brazil spent roughly USD3.6bn of public money on stadiums for the 2014 World Cup. Now, when 25.8 million Brazilians live in poverty, and the country is experiencing its worst political and economic crisis in decades, Brazil is hosting a second mega sporting event: the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro from 5 to 21 August.
7 facts about Brazil you probably won’t hear at the Olympics
Brazil’s most vulnerable
In preparation, an estimated £3.8bn of taxpayers’ money has been spent and 77,000 people have been evicted from their homes. Here in the UK, I’ve found it difficult to ignore the headlines about the Zika virus, entrenched political corruption, and Olympics-related security breaches. But we rarely, if ever, hear about the threats posed to Brazil’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
On 14 July 2016, CAFOD’s partner, CIMI Tefé (Indigenous Missionary Council) organised a demonstration of indigenous leaders in defence of their rights, and presented a petition to the authorities demanding effective implementation of public policies. (Credit: CIMI Tefe)
Victoria Ahmed works in CAFOD’s Education Team. She reflects on the transformative power of sport.
It has been a pretty amazing summer of sport so far. From cheering on the Wales football team to the semi-final match of the Euros, to celebrating Andy Murray’s Wimbledon championship win, I’ve been swept up in a summer of sport. So now I’m really looking forward to the biggest sporting event of the summer: the Olympics in Rio.
Find out more about our work in Brazil
As August rolls around I find myself recovering from an injury. With each warmer day I feel a little bit stronger, and I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve drawn inspiration and strength from athletes. Though not particularly sporty myself, I recognise the power of sport to transform – the drive, commitment and teamwork on display this summer has definitely helped me on the road to recovery.
Filed under CAFOD, Education
John McBride carrying the Olympic flame through Barnard Castle
John McBride is CAFOD’s Learning and Development Coordinator. Here he shares his fond memories of carrying the Olympic flame for CAFOD, and about meeting some of the partners who have inspired him to continue speaking out to protect our common home.
We are shining a light on Brazil this Olympic Games
2012 was a big year in Britain, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, Andy Murray won at Wimbledon and Rory McIlroy won the US PGA. We also hosted the Olympic Games that proved to be a triumph. We showed the rest of the world that we were good at sports. In a small County Durham town, I made my contribution to the summer of sport by carrying the Olympic flame, representing CAFOD supporters and partners through the market town of Barnard Castle.