Unidos Venceremos – Mobilizing community work in the outskirts of Bacabal
The Starting Position
The everyday life of the Novo-Bacabal district includes hunger, alcohol and drug abuse, physical and sexual violence, high adolescent pregnancy rates – all of which have a direct Impact of marginalisation, fragmentation and discouragement of the families who live here. Under these conditions, how can changes be initiated with those affected that open up new opportunities for life and development?
After informal visits to the houses, the residents of Novo-Bacabal are invited to a first meeting in June 2001: About 35 men and women, young people and children gather in the open air. Their expectations: There are people coming from the government or from the church, politicians or missionaries who will solve our problems.
They are surprised to realise that these meetings, which take place weekly from then on, are about In dialogue and listening to each other, to discover and strengthen one’s own forces and abilities and thus to create the conditions for them to recognize their history and that of their district as their task and to take them into their own hands.
IMAGINE THE CITY NOVO BACABAL,
WHERE ALL FAMILIES CAN LIVA A GOOD LIVE,
WITHOUT MISERY AND SUFFERING. THIS SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE
BUT IT IS NOT IT DEPENDS ON US!
Unidos Venceremos – Together we will win
From the regular meetings emerges the UNIDOS VENCEREMUS district group. It has now become a place where ordinary people – regardless of race, gender, age and religion – learn to speak and, above all, are heard. Its members proudly tell of the small ‘ victories ‘ they have been able to celebrate over the years as the fruits of their initiative:
- Volunteer health workers are working in the borough, advising the families and mostly caring for infants and toddlers.
- The streets of Novo-Bacabal are still not all paved, but they have at least already got a gravel layer.
- A simple community centre – Centro Comunitario Paulo Freire – was built, where today, among other things, the project VAMOS! CRIANÇA works.
Maria de Socorro says: “It’s a good feeling to be able to say: I belong to the group UNIDOS VENCEREMOS. Ever since I joined in, I feel like I’m a human being!”