In Osasco, a suburb of São Paulo, a community of five hundred families is run by women alone. An alternative and promising adventure, presented on RFI.
The Brazilians elected this week their president in a context of major crisis, which has brought to power a far-right man, a supporter of eradicating violence … by liberalizing arms sales. Nothing, however, in the Bolsonaro program to solve the catastrophic housing situation that gave birth to the Homeless Workers Movement. In the absence of social housing, the illegal occupation of unoccupied land has become a common phenomenon, as with the development of new favelas.
Faced with the insecurity and insalubrity of these precarious neighborhoods, Irene Maestro Guimarães, born of the extreme left movement Luta Popular, sows hope. In 2013, she created Ocupação Esperança in Osasco, a suburb of São Paulo. On a hill overlooking the huge Coca-Cola factory, this favela is home to five hundred families. Its particularity: it is self-managed by women. Margot Hemmerich takes us, for RFI, through the gutted dirt roads of this wasteland that has become the scene of an alternative political adventure. We discover a mini-society that holds weekly a popular assembly, and a daily management headed by a female leadership. One coordinates the distribution of water, the other access to school, cinema, or a project of nursery. “We welcome many single mothers but also couples,” says Irene Maestro. In a domestic violence case, a women’s commission meets to listen to the victim. If she wishes, the man can be excluded from the Occupation. “
As soon as someone has a problem, the others come to help, ” says a resident.
Many of them arrive here after trying to live in other improvised villages. “Here, the union makes all the difference. As soon as someone has a problem, the others come to help, ” says a resident. In five years, no homicide at Ocupação Esperança. “We feel a soothing atmosphere, joyful, with music everywhere … It’s very different from other favelas where I could go”, explains Margot Hemmerich, who has been able to transmit this happy atmosphere in his report.
The voices of the inhabitants and inhabitants she met transpired ardor, hope and desire for the best. But a sword of Damocles hovers over their heads: the tacit agreement with the town hall celebrates this year its fifth anniversary, date on which the town is supposed to regularize the situation, including ensuring the supply of water and electricity. Accustomed to adversity (they were expelled from their first location and then burned down last year), the women of Osasco are ready to defend their islet of peace.