TOKYO-2017 People / Family

Copacabana Palace | Edilane - A mother

  • Prize
    Silver in People/Family
  • Photographer
    Peter Bauza

Edilane and 3 of her 7 kids are resting on a mattress on the floor. She is pregnant with a boy. The official social housing program “minha casa, minha vida” provided her an apartment, but drug gangs surround the area of her supposed new home that beside a dangerous favela, Cidade Cidade de Deus. She doesn’t want to expose her kids and especially her oldest daughter (14) to possible dangerous situations. So, she prefers to stay here and tries to negotiate with the government for a new home. Edilane is a strong woman, and she never gives up. Her income is from small jobs and an in-house internet and video game facility that supplements their monthly family social services money. Families are entitled to receive monthly social help (bolsa familia) if the children are registered and attend the public school regularly. “Copacabana Palace”, an ironically named series of condominiums in Brazil, houses more than 300 homeless families. Built more than 30 years ago, construction on this complex was never finished and has since become squatted. A lack of fresh water, electricity, or a working sewage system means residents here often face serious health problems. Most of the people here come from favela communities, some of whom may have been offered social housing as part of governmental rehousing schemes that they don't feel safe enough to occupy due to the presence of drug-gang families. According to official statistics from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, it is estimated that there are 1.8 million homeless people in Brazil.