Evidence of women providing for their community
The non-profit Casa das Mulheres, a subsidiary organisation of Redes da Maré, has been at the centre of a locally-run campaign to save lives, from both the virus and hunger, and to prevent further deaths.
Their campaign, ‘Maré Says NO to Coronavirus’ is based on the collection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for distribution to professionals working in health facilities in the territory, a daily online health advice service via email and a WhatsApp channel, plus a prevention campaign.
Of the 111 campaign employees, 98 are women. Volunteers make up the rest of staff, totalling 300 people. Thus, it is women who are mainly running and operating the centrepieces of the campaign, including:
- the distribution of food baskets and personal hygiene and cleaning items to the poorest families and most vulnerable.
- a catering programme providing 500 meals a day for the sick who are unable to leave their homes and homeless people substance abuse problems. This employs 30 women (out of a total of 42).
- a sewing programme making masks (with the aim of providing two per resident by the end of June). This employs 56 women.
Thanks to their efforts, 20,000 people directly benefitted in the first four weeks of the campaign: 7,272 households received food parcels and cleaning /hygiene supplies; 4,600 meals were supplied to homeless people; and supplies reached all 16 favelas.
The numbers of those indirectly benefitting are much higher. This means that women have been at the heart of efforts to prevent starvation and the spread of the virus in the community. It is hard to imagine the campaign without the work and energy of these women.