Macega: A Community Pleading for Help

Familia Macega

Mundo Real has been increasingly working in the area known as Macega, which is the poorest section of Rocinha. Virtually all of Macega’s residents want to be re-settled, particularly in upper Macega where approximately 200 family reside in subhuman living conditions. Residents know they are living in an area at extreme risk of natural disaster and without any sewage or sanitation infrastructure. Almost all the families we visit in Macega mention that they want to live somewhere else in Rocinha where they can offer their children a better quality of life. In Macega very few residents have formal education and most are unemployed. Families survive mainly on informal work and handouts. Residents of upper Macega are among the most vulnerable residents in Rio de Janeiro and are in urgent need of intervention. A tragedy in Macega is not a possibility, it is absolutely certain, especially as the summer (in South America) rains approach. Land and rocks give way every time heavy rains pour down over Rocinha. As the photos indicate a boulder crushed some of this family’s belongings just a few feet from their house during the last intense rains in October.

Familia Macega
Macega Residents gather with Mundo Real to travel to the Public Defenders office
Maurício Campos in Macega
Civil and Mechanical Engineer Maurício Campos returned to Macega to evaluate the area and discuss options with the residents.

On Monday the 29th of November Mundo Real took 19 residents of Macega to the bi-monthly meeting of the Pastoral das Favelas to see if we could get them some help, paying for their transportation and lunch out of our pockets. During the meeting Civil and Mechanical Engineer Maurício Campos once again came to the rescue and scheduled a visit that same week to professionally evaluate the area. On Friday December 3rd Mundo Real, along with Maurício, returned to Macega to evaluate the area and discuss options with the residents. They told us that no one else is assisting them. We explained to them that the visit and evaluation are only the first steps in an often exhausting process and that their future largely depend on their ability to organize and remain united in fighting for their rights. We assured them we would continue doing our part in assisting them while making it clear that they, the residents of Macega, are the most powerful force in this struggle, as Laboriaux has shown. Maurício’s report will be available soon and we will share the findings. He also agreed to take their case personally before the Public Defender’s office to see if it can be dealt with urgently. The City needs to quit threatening stable communities like Laboriaux and focus instead on the areas of Rocinha and Rio de Janeiro that need urgent assistance, like Macega.