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The covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated a problem that affects many Brazilians: anxiety. Research carried out by the NGO Gerando Falcões, in partnership with Instituto Locomotiva and support from Grupo +Unidos, shows that 36% of people living in Brazilian slums deliver anxiety. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that Brazil is the most anxious country in the world, with 19 million people with the disorder, which accounts for about 9% of the population. In other words, the situation in the favelas is far above the national average.

The survey was carried out with 2,939 people over 16 years of age in 13 Brazilian states between the months of September 2020 and February 2021. Most of those declared were made face-to-face, to better understand the reality where people live.

In the evaluation of Edu Lyra, founder of Gerando Falcões, this situation is devastating at a time of loss of income – 78% of favela residents saw their income shrink in the pandemic – and with precarious access to services from the Unified Health System (SUS) ) Another survey data shows that although 85% say there is health care in the neighborhood, 25% rate it as bad or very bad.

“90% of the favela population has no health insurance. The lack of access to quality health increases social vulnerability. If we ended the pandemic today, we would go back ten steps. Mental health is shaken, no one is happy to live on donation, with economic and social insecurity. This has a devastating psychological effect on people’s heads,”says Edu Lyra, who works in almost 700 slums across the country.

And the situation of anxiety is worse in the group of women and people with an income of up to one minimum wage. In these two ranges, more than 50% affirm that they are concerned with mental health.

The survey also assessed how the incarceration of family members impacts the lives of favela residents. Among respondents, 51% stated that they know people with a relative in prison. In the portion of people who claimed to have some family member incarcerated, 41% said they were already victims of prejudice for that.

“Most of the favela is discouraged that the change can be systemic. They do not believe that the transformation will come from institutional organizations. My biggest focus and effort is the Favela 3D project that we are making a systemic intervention: interrupting the poverty cycle in that region, with professional training, income generation, and emancipation”, says Lyra.

The project is being implemented in a favela in São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo. Lyra explains that everything is done in partnership with the city hall, the government of the state of São Paulo, and the private sector. With the help of businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann, a great friend of Edu Lyra, 15 million reais were raised, 90% of the amount needed to carry out the two and a half years of the project.

“This research shows that the coronavirus affects mainly the poorest, further increasing social vulnerability. Gerando Falcões has a series of actions in the favelas, public policies to send the favela to the museum. We needed data and information”, explains Renato Meirelles, from Instituto Locomotiva.

Daniel Grynberg, executive director of Grupo + Unidos, reinforces that knowing the exact current situation of the communities is a fundamental step for development. “A complete mapping makes it possible to identify the main needs of the communities, resulting in more assertive solutions for each location. This research is a trigger for the growth and evolution of these families”.


By Gilson Garrett Jr, from Exame. Updated on 5/13/2021.

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