By: L. Mores & N. Elmôr
Projeto Mãos na Massa is a non-profit NGO dedicated to helping physically and/or mentally disabled individuals who are less fortunate and live in the less privileged areas of the São Paulo metropolitan region in houses that are not safe or not suited for them. The project's mission is to build or reform the houses of these individuals by reinforcing the infrastructure of the house to make it more secure and adapting it to suit disabilities (for example, expanding doorways for someone who uses a wheelchair). To fulfil its purpose, the Project counts with a group of architects and masons who teach us and help us build the houses.
The project was founded in June of 2017 by a group of St. Paul's students after they had attended a World Challenge trip to Tanzania. They spent two weeks there renovating a primary school with money that they had raised over a year. In returning to Brazil, the group felt inspired and motivated to create a project that would serve a similar purpose in São Paulo and together they founded Projeto Mãos na Massa.
3 of the 6 projects we've worked on
Sid e Luciane
When he was just 27 years old, Sidcley started to feel an itch in his eye which quickly developed into an ulcer inside of his cornea. Now he's 40 years old and has, unfortunately, lost all of his right-eye vision and 95% of his left-eye vision. Fortunately, Sid never let this slow him down and, with a lot of faith, he continued fighting on and started urban mobility training for the visually impaired. His wife, Luciane, also lost her vision when she was younger due to diabetes and, just like her husband, never lost her will to live. To this day she still has to go to the hospital to complete her haemodialysis, but every time we went to work on her house she was always there, cheerful and eager to chat!
Our first ever project was to construct their house. We first heard of them through Adriel Messias, our project's supporter since day one. He told us that Sid had no money to finish his house's construction and it would, therefore, be in a really precarious and dangerous state for him and his family – especially because he's visually impaired. His story inspired us finish his houses construction, originating 'Projeto Mãos na Massa'!
When we first arrived at their house, we right off the bat saw that their house was in an extremely critical condition – we had a lot to do in order to finalize its construction. Our team worked for 8 months nonstop - from filling the floor up until constructing the roof – in order to help the couple's dream of having their own place to call home come true. Now, Sid and Lu can stop living off rent and relax knowing that their house is safe for them both.
If you'd like to listen to our interview with Sid & Luciane, please click on this link: https://www.maosnamassa.org/entrevista-sid-e-luciane
From Augusto of 2019 up until March of 2020, we worked with Rosangela! 2 of our members found her crossing the highway where her house can be found, and they decided to stop the car and ask her what she – a woman with only one leg and using a cane – was doing on the road during a rainy day. She explained that she had an appointment, and our 2 members decided to explain what Projeto Mãos na Massa was and offered to help. She couldn't believe what she was hearing, but nonetheless took her to her house and showed them around.
Her house's structure was completely inadequate for a wheelchair user: her chair couldn't fit through the doors, the roof had holes and the entrance to her house was extremely inaccessible for a handicapped individual.
During the 9 months we worked on her house, we refurbished some areas so that she could have a much better living standard. We changed all of the doors to make them more accessible, broke the wall that had a non-solid structure and made a new, painted one, leaving her house looking super pretty from the outside. Furthermore, we re-did the entirety of the house's floor that she herself had constructed a couple years ago.
We finished the house successfully and are proud to say that Rosangela can now live in her house with comfort and tranquillity.
Escola Marechal Deodoro Fonseca
The Marechal Deodoro Fonseca school is a public institution in São Paulo with approximately 900 students. The school's external area and the playground where in a very precarious state and didn't include the necessary elements/adaptations required for the students with physical disabilities to successfully locomote around.
We created a project to refurbish these spaces in order to make them far more accessible and appropriate for the children's playtime. We constructed a ramp with colourful arcs and rings that the students can play with whilst going up to the more elevated area containing chairs and tables. We also refurbished the benches and tables so that the students using wheelchairs could easily access them, as well as painted all of the walls with bright colours in order to give the school a much happier and inclusive atmosphere. So that the children could have as much fun as possible in this space, we painted on the floor a typical Brazilian game: the 'amarelinha'!
This project was, to say the least, atypical since we had to complete it during the pandemic. So that everybody was safe during the construction, we didn't come into contact with any of the students or faculty and followed all of the social-distancing protocols (wearing masks, washing our hands and using as much alcohol gel as possible). With those measures in place, we managed to finish the construction in an effective and safe manner.
5 of our Fundraising Events
One of our most popular fundraising events was the Basketball Festival! We spoke to Coach Rodrigo in order to coordinate this event ranging from Prep 2 all the way to Form 2 students. On the 10th of November 2018 (a Saturday) we organized a 3 v 3 basketball game in which all of the money raised went towards our construction on Sidcley and Luciane's house. In addition to the exclusive kit containing a water bottle, a rucksack and a basketball shirt, all participants gained house points.
On the 8th of November 2019, we had an amazing Football Festival with the Prep-school kids! All of those involved in the event won an exclusive Mãos na Massa medal, and those who delivered an outstanding performance even won the trophies pictured below!
In collaboration with the Mundo Maker organization, we held a slime-making event in 2019! We went to their headquarters and, together with the children involved in the event, made slime and personalized sandals.
International Day 2019
Also in 2019 we had an event during the school's International Day! With the help of Chef Center Brazil, the children present managed to make and decorate cupcakes. In total, we managed to raise around 8 thousand reais – enough to help us sustain our constructions for some months!
VR Glasses Campaign
Our latest campaign was the VR glass sets! With this, we created a virtual tour of all our projects and sent out a pair to all of our members. Through a QR code, they could either access the virtual tour or make a monetary donation. With this campaign we managed to successfully raise around 25 thousand reais! All of the money went towards the completion of the Marechal Deodoro Fonseca School construction and towards the start of our latest project.
If you would like to know more about Projeto Mãos na Massa and find out how to donate to help the project continue its mission please visit our website https://www.maosnamassa.org/! You can also follow the Project on Instagram @projeto_maosnamassa!