Parishioners in Lancaster share Brazilian families’ joy after campaign success

Thanks to the support of parishioners from across the Diocese of Lancaster who were amongst the 4,000 people to support a CAFOD petition, over 1,000 people in São Paulo will spend this Christmas safe in the knowledge that they no longer face eviction from their home.

#FicaMauá – Let them stay

In September 2017, CAFOD launched a campaign to halt the eviction of around 1,000 people living in the abandoned hotel in the centre of São Paulo, Brazil.

The Mauá Building in the centre of São 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.  The building has been home to a thriving community, providing a social use and revitalising an otherwise derelict area in the city centre.

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

In a landmark case, after ongoing campaigning by the families, public authorities have agreed to purchase the building for around £4.6 million (20 million reais), allowing for it to be converted into social housing.

Your actions helped to bring about change

It is thanks to your support that the fear and uncertainty of losing their homes is no longer a reality for the families living in the Mauá community.

Neti de Araújo’s, a leader in the Mauá community, said:  “I want to thank each and every one of you for your support. I am very happy knowing there are people like you, our friends and companions.

“After so much struggle and sacrifice, ten years of ups and downs, it is finally feasible; we have persuaded the owners of the need for families to live here. The struggle will continue! Thank you!”

CAFOD representative in Lancaster, Patrick Gardner, added: “The way that parishioners from Lancaster have rallied together to prevent this injustice, where over 1,000 people were threatened with being left on the streets this Christmas, has been astounding.

“We are so thankful that so many people in the diocese have acted: spreading the word, signing the petition and even standing in solidarity with the community by photographing themselves with a #ficamaua sign.

“Your prayers and messages of solidarity have given the families strength and hope at this difficult time.”

The fight continues

CAFOD will continue to support stand in solidarity and pray for the families in their struggle for a safe and permanent home.

Find out more about how you can directly support families in Brazil  


Hannah tells us about her upcoming trip to Ethiopia

Hannah Henley, who is taking part in CAFOD’s Step into the Gap Programme, tells us about her hopes for the upcoming trip to Ethiopia.


Hannah Henley

I’m Hannah and I’ll be travelling to Ethiopia with CAFOD in January. Seeing it in writing is just making me super excited and I can’t wait to see what work CAFOD are doing and what projects they are supporting.

If you would like to read about my reasons for applying to Step into the Gap, feel free to do so, (if you excuse the picture!) Or about the Step into the Gap Programme in general.


Some of what I’m most looking forward to is meeting Ethiopian communities and experiencing a different culture and bonding with my travel group. I’m going on to study fashion at university next year so I am just beyond excited to see the traditional fabrics and colours and markets (I’m a fashion student, I’m allowed)! I’ll need to make sure I have room for all the fabric I’m going to buy, there will be a lot… Continue reading

James tell us about his upcoming trip to Cambodia

James Ronan is taking part in the Step into the Gap programme. He tells us about his year so far and his preparation and expectations for visiting Cambodia.


James Ronan

For the first term of the Step into the Gap programme, I have been based at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in Blackpool. It has been a really exciting! In October, the chaplaincy team Brightened Up for Harvest with a week of fundraising, which culminated in a Staff Talent Show. Later on that month, I helped organise a sixth form Climate Change Debate with two local MPs, Paul Maynard and Gordon Marsden, for the CAFOD Speak Up Week of Action. In November, we held our Act of Kindness week, this coincided with having the pilgrim statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in school, for the end of the Year of Mercy.

This January I have the incredible opportunity to visit Cambodia and see the work of CAFOD’s partner organisations, helping our Cambodian brothers and sisters to build God’s kingdom here on Earth. Continue reading