Sam Cowie – Deutsche Welle, 10/12/2012
A pilot project aims to give legal land tenure to some of Rio de Janeiro’s favela dwellers. Although it will increase costs for inhabitants, there’s hope it will also stimulate economic growth in the community.
Maura da Rocha stands in front of her red brick, two-bedroom house in Cantagalo, a favela in Rio de Janeiro. She has lived in this shantytown on a steep hill nestled between the world famous Copacabana and Ipanema beachside neighborhoods since arriving in the city as a rural migrant from Brazil’s impoverished northeast more than 40 years ago. Just recently, Maura was awarded a document that entitles her to the legal ownership of the land her house is built upon.
“I’m really happy, because now they’ll never be able to take us away from here and put us somewhere else. We have the right now to live permanently in the community,”she says, taking a break from hand-washing her grandchildren’s clothes with a hose and bucket. Soap suds run down the hill into the favela’s crude gutter system.