"People are beginning to stand up"

Frei Gilvander and Rosário tell about their latest visits to the Dandara Camp, which welcomes families desperate to find shelter. They return home full of hope. Spotlight on correspondents of the Permanent Forum on Extreme Poverty in the World.

Frei Gilvander from Brazil writes:

Today, August 30th, I went to visit the Dandara Camp. I came back home full of hope. I saw Joviano who was welcoming a long line of families who had just arrived at the Camp, desperate with the urgent need to find shelter.

I walked throughout the camp, congratulating the people who are building houses, and encouraging everyone to do the same. There are already about 30 houses under construction. People are not afraid anymore. They are bringing bricks in on bikes, in cars, on motorcycles, in wheel barrows, in prams and strollers, in basins, etc.

I had lunch in a small house that’s been completed, with running water and electricity. The home belongs to Mrs. Maria, a very intelligent elderly woman, Mr. Joaquim, Eduardo, and Luisa, who is 15 years old and four-months pregnant. The lunch was delicious.

I could really feel that people are beginning to stand up. Our struggle will not be in vain. All struggles are worthwhile when you have a big heart. But I do think that we should also start to build a community center.

In November, Rosário sent more news from the Camp:

I visited the Dandara Camp today. I hadn’t been back there since the rainy season started, and it’s clear that life for people in the Camp is very difficult right now! With all the wind, many shacks and even some sturdy houses have fallen.

But it’s beautiful to see the solidarity that exists among the people. There are people who had gotten material to build their own home, and who are now using it to help their neighbors instead!

As soon as the rainy season and construction period are over, I think that we should gather the Education Coalition together and resume work at that level.

I also visited Mrs. Maria, who has a two year old son suffering from microcephaly. She also has a baby just a few months old, and she needs a wheelchair for her disabled son. We’re going to start a campaign in different parishes to try to find a wheelchair for her. In the meantime, she carries both children in her arms. It’s such a difficult situation! Let’s hold on and keep the faith!

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