A struggle for a better life

Little Sisters arrived in Caruaru - Brazil, in 2010

We arrived in the Alto do Moura neighbourhood, 7 kilometres from the centre of the town of Caruaru, on the 29 July 2010. Thanks to the work of earlier generations it has become a cultural centre for representational art work using clay. 
The neighbourhood has just one paved street and the new districts that are parallel to it, on the right and the left, have been neglected by the public authorities. 
 
The area in which we live has not been provided with the basic conditions for hygiene, nor with electricity or water, only one street has these facilities. The people who live in the other streets have, illegally, branched on to the electricity wires; they have also put down some pipes but this is inadequate and they have to buy water for drinking and cooking. 
 
From the beginning we could see the difficult situation the inhabitants were in: they are living in a district where the effluent flows into the open ground when the drains are full and overflow; this also contaminates the soil. 
 
The people living in this area (Maestre Vitalino I) are young couples with small children. Most of them come from other towns and villages of Bairro Alto do Moura. Many of them quickly learn how to work with clay and so increase the number of artisans who make objects that they fire and paint. 
We witnessed the suffering of all these people, having to buy water for domestic use and facing the likelihood of developing health problems because of the lack of hygiene. 
 
In Lent 2011 we invited some of the people living in the area to discuss how they perceived this situation in the neighbourhood, the concerns they had and their proposals. The whole population was then invited to meetings where it was decided together that we would collect signatures for a petition demanding potable water, lighting, basic hygiene and security; this was in collaboration with the ABMAM – Association of Artisans working with clay and the residents of Alto Moura. The residents and the sisters collected signatures and a small group of residents took these documents to the public bodies concerned. 
 
The Military Police took account of the request immediately and the Commandant in person and other representatives came to dialogue with the people, so that straightaway the demand was attended to, partially. 
 
We have already had ten meetings with the residents and we have chosen a team to meet the authorities concerned and ask them for information; then, on their return, they inform the residents about how the demands are progressing. And the struggle is continuing for the Human Rights of every citizen. 
These are people who have been cheated for a long time and have lost all hope. We are trying to help them to recover their self-confidence, pointing out that it is a struggle that is being waged by everybody and that the union of all the residents, independent of religion and political parties, is very important.
 
The struggle continues!!!
 
"I believe that the world will be better, when the little one who is suffering comes to believe in the little one."
 
Hermana Olga 
 
23/05/2012
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