Last Sunday, members of St Peter’s Church, Lytham came together to show their support for the Maua community in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They signed the petition and took photos with a sign saying #ficamaua. The petition was signed by over 50 people, which is a fantastic result!
The Maua community resides in a building in the centre of Sao Paulo. The building was originally a hotel, but was left empty for 17 years, until over 200 homeless families renovated it and moved in in 2007. Since then, they have been desperately trying to win their legal rights to live there and have recently been engaging in negotiations with the authorities. The situation has now become urgent as a shock eviction notice has been given to the community, meaning that 237 families, over 1,000 people, now face being forced out of their homes by police. The date was originally set for the 22nd October, but thankfully the eviction has been temporarily suspended for thirty days on the grounds of public interest and considering the vulnerability of the families living in the building. The eviction date has now been moved to 21st November, giving us longer to show our support and to urge the Brazilian authorities to change their minds.
CAFOD’s partner in Brazil APOIO is currently working with the Maua community to try and defend their right to secure housing, however there is no further legal option to save the community. This means that the only option left to them is for the international Catholic community to put pressure on the authorities to stop the eviction.
Neti de Araujo, a community leader within the Maua community who has met with CAFOD supporters in the past has said: “We in the Maua community have spent 10 years living in this building which we have cleaned, looked after and made into a home for 237 families. For years we have been negotiating for the acquisition of this building for social housing with an affordable rent. Now we are at risk of an eviction. We have not been offered an alternative. We will have to leave our homes and live in the street. I am counting on you and your prayers”
Parish priest Fr David Burns, commented on how important it is to “to reach across the
seas to our brothers and sisters in need”, and Emily McIndoe, CAFOD volunteer, added that “it was great to see so many people in the parish taking an interest in the campaign and coming together to help those in need in Brazil, our thoughts and prayers are with the Maua community in this difficult time.”
Can you sign the petition asking the Brazilian authorities to suspend the eviction and to negotiate a just, permanent solution for the families? Can you print off the petition and ask people in your parish or community to add their signatures? Will you show solidarity with the Maua community by taking a picture of yourself holding a sign saying #ficamaua to share with us on social media?