This is our latest article on Covid-19 as it impacts Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Photo-essay by Alexandre Cerqueira.
The Rocinha favela-based mobilization network Rocinha Resists has been acting since 2018, organizing events “in an open dialogue with other favelas, to debate ideas, create concepts, and implement actions to transform the reality of this territory, taking into account its historical and emerging problems.” Rocinha Resists also serves as a support network in emergency situations, such as during the 2018 federal and military takeover of public security in favelas and during the 2019 floods. In 2020, more precisely from March onward, the focus has been on preventing and fighting coronavirus in the favela.
In an emergency distribution campaign that occurred between June 1 and 5, Rocinha Resists delivered 350 baskets of basic foodstuffs with hygiene kits along with 5,000 masks at several locations in the upper part of Rocinha. 300 volunteers helped make deliveries to families’ homes. The houses were mapped by community health agents from the Dr. Albert Sabin Municipal Health Clinic and by the Rinaldo de Lamare Social Assistance Reference Center, both in Rocinha. The partnership with community health agents was central in allowing the comings and goings through locations in the favela such as Rua 1, Roupa Suja, 99, Macega, Laboriaux, Vila Vermelha, Vila Cruzada and Cesário. The agents guided the volunteers through the alleys toward the assisted residents.
The multimedia records in this visual report were created at campaign activities on June 2 and focused on the valuable support of community health agents, who volunteered their time in an act of solidarity. They brought to the group their knowledge of care and of the locations of more vulnerable residents and less accessible places.
Preparation for the Day’s Action
Mental Map of the Alleys
The name of each person on the list of donation recipients was sufficient for community health agents to guide the group through a mental map of narrow lanes and alleys, which can only be drawn with the time, experience, and dedication that each health agent has for the families they serve.
Delivery of Basic Supplies
The goal established by Rocinha Resists was to provide support for 350 families of five members each, comprised of a hygiene kit, a basket of basic foodstuffs, and six bottles of mineral water. The supplies, at an average value of R$144 (US$27) per family, were distributed beginning in April. By June, three rounds of distributions had taken place.
Rocinha Resists is struggling to maintain support to residents due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic. To collaborate with the next campaign by Rocinha Resists, contact them through the Rocinha Resists Facebook page.
Videos of the Integrated Action: