Help halt the unjust eviction of families in Brazil #ficamaua

CAFOD supporters in Westminster diocese have recently been responding to the #ficamaua campaign, which is hoping to stop the eviction of more than 200 families living in an abandoned hotel in the centre of Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

Add your name to the petition to stop the eviction

Not only have CAFOD supporters in Westminster diocese been busy preparing for Harvest, but they have also been getting involved with CAFOD’s latest campaign.

Once a trendy hotel, the Maua Building in the centre of Sao Paulo stood empty for 17 years until 2007, when 237 working families moved in.  They lovingly renovated the building and for the last ten years have called it home.  Whereas once the building was squalid, it is now home to a thriving community, providing a social use and revitalising an otherwise derelict area in the city centre.

Maua building Sao Paulo

The Maua Building, Sao Paulo

Tony Sheen from the CAFOD Wesminster office visited the community in the Maua building a few years ago.

“What I witnessed when I visited was a loving community of young and old caring for each other, living together and sharing what they had.  There were community leaders on each floor who ensured that all had enough to eat and they shared with those who didn’t have enough.  It was very well established, with a creche, a library and youth clubs.”

Ever since they moved in the families have been trying to win the legal rights to their home, asking for the authorities to acquire the building and convert it into social housing for low income families.

Far from being a radical claim, this is a move permitted under Brazilian law, which states that all properties must fulfil a social purpose.  As such, city planning should be organised to ensure cities respond to social needs, not only financial interests.  This is especially pertinent in Sao Paulo; poor families are unable to afford market rents, yet in the city centre there are hundreds of abandoned buildings.

Despite what is stated in law, the families in the building face eviction on the 22 October.  Should the eviction go ahead, almost 1,000 people, including 200 children, would be forced onto the street.  All legal routes have been exhausted and so far local authorities have provided no contingency plan.

Add your name to the petition to stop the eviction

Clare Dixon with CAFOD Westminster Volunteers

Clare Dixon with CAFOD Westminster Volunteers

Heluiza Soares, a coordinator from CAFOD’s São Paulo partner APOIO, said:“We cannot stay silent when faced with such injustice, indifference to the plight of the poor, and backlash in Brazil. Housing is a right which must be guaranteed and we must stand firmly together to ensure social justice and the equitable enjoyment of the city, especially by the most vulnerable and disfavoured citizens. Having a decent home is essential to people’s dignity, safety, livelihoods and ability to thrive.”

CAFOD supporters in Westminster have begun to respond to this request, signing the petition that has been launched to try and halt the eviction.  The petition asks that the Brazilian authorities suspend the eviction and negotiate a fair, long-term solution for the families living in the Maua.

Once you’ve signed the petition, we’re also asking you to show solidarity with the community by taking a picture of yourself holding a sign saying #ficamaua to share on Twitter or Facebook tagging @CAFOD.

All of us in the Westminster office ask for all our supporters to sign the petition against this unjust eviction and pray that justice will prevail.

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Voices from the Field – Father Peter Delivers Inspirational Talk

Inspirational talks from Father Peter on the challenges of Laudato Si’.

Father Peter Hughes Delivering His Talk

Father Peter Hughes Delivering His Talk

This month, we were very fortunate to host two talks by Father Peter about the challenges of Laudato Si’, what it really means to be a Catholic, and the question of poverty. He delivered an inspirational message at Comboni Missionary Sisters, Chiswick on Friday 14 July and at St Peter and St Paul Parish in Northfields, Ealing on Wednesday 19 July.

Several members of the local parish and community attended, and were invited to participate in a card-signing to show their support for CAFOD and this year’s Harvest Fast Day Appeal in El Salvador. Continue reading

Parishioners enjoy an Authentic Indian Curry in aid of CAFOD

ENMA Group Serving Sineta IMG_20170709_135213602

Over 100 parishioners from Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George Church, Enfield sat down to enjoy a lovely Authentic Indian Curry in aid of CAFOD last Sunday 9th July

The charity Lunch in aid of CAFOD was organised by the Enfield Malayali Association UK (ENMA). Enfield Malayali Association (ENMA) is a cultural organisation representing the tradition and rich heritage of the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Volunteers from ENMA prepared a delicious three course lunch including onion Bhaji, samosa, vada, butter Chicken, mattar paneer, rice and payasam.

Beena ENMA serving MG_20170709_123937289_HDR

Parishioner Mike Mackenzie, who also volunteers for CAFOD by speaking at Mass every Fast Day said “the curry was so lovely. I ordered a take away for my Mum and Dad too. “

During the lunch CAFOD’s local representative, Tony Sheen gave a short talk thanking all involved.

Tony shared about how the funds raised would help CAFOD’s work overseas, both responding to emergencies such as the current crisis in Syria and supporting long term programmes of work helping communities stand on their own. He also spoke about CAFOD’s campaign work, currently tackling climate change. He introduced CAFOD’s Power to Be Campaign and invited guests to sign a campaign card to the World Bank. For further details about the campaign click here.

Beena and Son IMG_20170709_130915431_HDREvent organiser Beena George said that she hopes to present CAFOD with a cheque for £1111, in the next week or so.

Thank you so much to Enfield Malayali Association for supporting the work of CAFOD.