100 years of Paraisópolis shows that the country's favelas have potential

To remember the 100 years of the Paraisópolis favela, located in the south zone of São Paulo, the UOL Debate Today’s meeting brought together community leaders to show an overview of the country’s communities, especially in times of pandemic of the new coronavirus. In addition to the needs of these regions, they highlighted the power they have, especially in the Brazilian economy.

“Slums in Brazil move R$168 billion a year. Anyone who is not investing in the favela is losing money. We set up a block of leaders that earns R$7 billion a year, and we realized that by developing our commerce, we are developing our neighborhood , generating jobs and opportunities”, says Gilson Rodrigues, community leader from Paraisópolis and president of the NGO G10 das Favelas.

A resident of Paraisópolis, the activist claims that the health crisis in Brazil has aggravated the economic situation of Brazilians. He says the best way to help the country right now is “putting money into the pockets of the population”.

Paraisópolis handles R$ 738 million per year in 14 thousand commercial points. We can do much more by investing in e-commerce, entrepreneurship and unlocking zip codes
Gilson Rodrigues

With the Favelas G10, Gilson was able to bring together leaders and entrepreneurs who managed to collect and distribute thousands of hygiene kits and food baskets during the pandemic. He claims, however, that donations have decreased.

“The new normal, so much talked about, has meant less food on the table and 14 million unemployed Brazilians who are filling the lines for food baskets, lunchboxes, and filling the streets. When you look at the street scene these days, of the people who are going to the streets, they are people from the community, who have lost their jobs, have no way to pay rent and are going to the streets with their whole family,” says Gilson.

The community leader claims that currently 55% of Brazilians live in a situation of food insecurity, with nothing to eat. For him, the reality of hunger in the country’s communities is not new.

We are having a hard time keeping up the work, because people have stopped helping. This new normal has represented two Brazils: a Brazil that can have access to a home office and another that is starving. It is not normal for us to live in a situation of hunger
Gilson Rodrigues


President of Fazendinhando, architect and urban activist Ester Carro also joins the chorus of the president of the Favelas G10 by saying that the country’s communities have a lot of power. She also talks about the prejudices that residents of these regions face on a daily basis.

“When we talk about power, there is a lot within the communities. There are people who don’t see and don’t notice, and only look at the residents who live within the communities as drug dealers, as criminals, who practice illicit activities”, says Estar.

A resident of Jardim Colombo, in the west side of São Paulo, the architect claims that the success stories that permeate the residents of the country’s favelas are made invisible. She says that within the communities there are many dreamers and people who fight every day for their rights.

Unfortunately, when people watch television, they see the worst. But it’s not just this side that exists in our community. There is a lot of power for transformation, in the culture, in the voice of each resident, in each dream, in each construction. Each area within the community can impact and act in an integrated and not segregated way as we see
Ester Car

13 million people

President of Cufa (Central Única das Favelas) São Paulo, Marcivan Barreto says that favelas represent a very large consumer market in Brazil. A survey by the Data Favela and Locomotiva institutes shows that in 2019 the country had 13 million people living in communities.

“The slums today represent a very large market. We are talking about 13 million people, a value that is much greater than that generated in more than 20 states of the federation”, says Marcivan.

A resident of Heliópolis, in the south of São Paulo, the community leader says that the favelas represent much more than welfare. For him, the resident of the communities can occupy the space they want in Brazilian society.

We have to face the difficulties and show the asphalt, especially for companies, the potential that exists within Brazilian favelas
Marcivan Barreto

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