Brazil has been in the news since it was named the “epicentre of the pandemic”. What is it like to live and work there? Our Co-founder Maria shares her thoughts and updates on our Brazilian team during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As Lockdown and the pandemic drag, the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are numbing, and I feel a sense of normality. We found a way to work with our co-operative of artisans and suppliers safely and since Char and I live on different sides of the world, video meetings and working remotely were already part of our dynamic. Personally, all of my loved ones and their families are healthy and comfortable in their own homes. Our artisans, suppliers, the volunteers of Casa de Maria and all of their families are also all safe and healthy.
An Update on Our Team:
Our team and their family’s financial and physical wellbeing is paramount. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are honouring all our existing contracts with most of our team working from home. Some of our team need to work at the co-operative, to ensure their safety we have completed a risk assessment and implemented changes such as only 3 people are allowed to work per a day with appropriate PPE on, following WHO guidelines. Only those who can travel independently and not on public transport to the co-operative are allowed to come physically into work, those where this is not possible have to work from home. It’s important we know exactly what is going on, so we are updated on the health and wellbeing of the From Belo team daily.
An Update on our partner charity Casa de Maria:
Casa de Maria no longer is providing meals within its premises and working solely on a collection and delivery service. The literacy sessions have ceased for now, but once safe will continue. Casa de Maria is continuing to strive to help feed those most in need although times are now tougher than ever, as they rely upon functioning solely via donations with no government support.
Since I can’t physically volunteer at Casa de Maria at this moment, I call them weekly to catch up and help with whatever I can from afar since the number of people helped by the charity almost quadrupled. Knowing these figures is when I realise, I am one of the lucky ones that haven’t been severely affected by the pandemic. People losing their jobs and the lack of government financial support will likely kill more people in Brazil than the Covid-19.
What is happening in Brazil, From a Brazilian perspective?
Even though Brazil became the epicentre the pandemic, our state Minas Gerais and the city myself and our team live in, Belo Horizonte, are doing exceptionally well. There are strict rules put in place and great infrastructure, which is contributing to the second-lowest rates in Brazil and with a low percentage of occupation in hospitals. The state built temporary hospitals two months ago, and it is a relief to know that they are still empty.
My heart goes to the North of the country where the health system is collapsing. It is frustrating and sad to see how the overall situation is being poorly managed due to political instability and corruption.
The hardest thing for me living in a Third World Country is all those people in need hungry and suffering. I know some things are outside my control like politics and the outcome of this pandemic, but Char and I are trying our hardest to help as many people as we can, not only financially but with love and support too. All over the world, people are getting badly affected by the pandemic, and I can safely say the meals we donated with your purchases are making a MASSIVE difference in my hometown - the community of our artisans - Belo Horizonte. So thank you for your support it means a lot to us.