ACE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID-19
UPDATE - 29 APRIL 2020 | COVID-19 | HIP HOP LOVES | EMERGENCY FUNDRAISER | $15 = 1 MONTHS FOOD
A Brief Update from Brazil
This week, Jair Bolsonaro attended an anti-lockdown rally, coughing without covering his mouth and demanding that the country be opened up. His fears that a lockdown will plunge the nation into a recession, are greater than his concern for the health and lives of millions of Brazilian citizens.
There are over 13 million Brazilians living in the favelas, and they are being given no protection from the government, who demand they continue to travel and work. The challenge these favelas face is beyond comprehension. Self-isolating in houses with ten inhabitants, an infrequent water supply that makes sanitization nearly impossible; densely populated areas where people must go to work in order to have enough food for the day.
In order to limit the spread in these living conditions, some sort of government intervention is necessary to protect an already marginalized portion of society.
But the government refuses to intervene. Last week, Luiz Henrique Mandatta, the Brazilian health minister, was fired from his job after arguing for the importance of social distancing. The very people in charge of the nation’s health are being removed from power. On Saturday, the Justice Minister. Sergio Moro resigned, accusing Bolsonaro of political interference. Moro and Bolsonaro were incredibly close, with Moro helping to get him elected. This huge shift in political allegiance shows the volatile nature of Brazilian politics at this time.
Bolsonaro is using this pandemic as a means of further establishing his power, and it is the poorest communities who are suffering from the virus of authoritarianism.
Currently, there are around 3500 confirmed deaths in Brazil, with over 40,000 confirmed cases. However, the number of tests and the lack of services around the country mean this could be far higher. Their peak is not expected until the end of May, and already we are seeing widespread infection and exceedingly high death rates. The medical system is teetering on the brink of collapse, and the government is doing little to support it.
The message has been clear from the beginning. The national government will not only refuse to acknowledge COVID-19 as a problem but does not have plans to help their most vulnerable citizens. Thus, the people have taken it upon themselves to get aid to the necessary places.
While it may seem counterintuitive to say. We are, in a way, thankful for COVID-19. COVID-19 has brought us closer together as humans. Rio de Janeiro struggles with distinct class issues, but COVID-19 has broken this divide and has built a movement of people helping people.
Buba is an inspiration. But she is not alone. Movements like this are happening all over the city. Small movements with a big impact.
Whether they are community leaders, nonprofits, or good-willed citizens each person is doing a small part. 100,000’s of food kits were donated last month through grassroots efforts. ACE Projects is extremely PROUD to be a part of this, to be doing our part. This is a movement that we all should be proud of and an energy that is going to long outlive COVID-19. COVID-19 is going to change the way people look at the favelas and the power of grassroots efforts.
ACE Projects has donated 108 Food Kits, (which provide one month of food to a family). We have served 485 people in 7 different favelas. Furthermore, our extracurricular classes continue in part via skype and some of our students have volunteered in helping other children keep busy staying at home (see video below). We have done all this with only $3041, and are looking for more funding to help more vulnerable families in the community.
Heading into May, in light of this collaborative energy, we are teaming up with an international organization, Hip Hop Loves, and raising the ask. We all NEED to do our part to save lives during COVID-19. Any help you can offer goes an extremely long way. REMEMBERING, just $15 provides a food kit to a family in need!
We thank you for your continued support and hope you stay healthy, safe, and positive in these difficult times
Let’s come together and do our part!
29 MARCH 2020 | ACE PROJECTS | COVID-19 | BOLSONARO | EMERGENCY FUNDRAISER
While it is not in our nature to reach out to committed donors in such a short space of time the COVID-19 situation in Brazil is deeply concerning and cannot be ignored.
As in much of the world, COVID-19 is the center of attention here in Brazil. Dissimilar to the rest of the world, Brazil is receiving mixed messages regarding COVID-19 best practices. On the state level, Rio de Janeiro is following guidelines from the international community: Closing schools, inter-municipal transportation, and encouraging people to self-quarantine. However, on the federal level, the president is encouraging the opposite: Urging people to go to the street and to live life as one normally would; to not worry about this “gripezinho” (a little cold) that the media is scamming us into believing is such a big deal.
For those of us working in the favelas, we are terrified of the negative repercussions these mixed signals may bring. Even if the message was consistent, favela residents have a much harder time taking small measures like social distancing to avoid contamination. The virus will thrive in the favelas, and when residents start getting infected, the state does not have the health care system in place to treat these people on a large scale.
While reliable data about COVID-19 rates are hard to obtain, it is safe to assume that in the favelas the infection and death rates are going to be on the higher end of the spectrum.
For instance, take Rocinha, which has one public medical center serving at least 150,000 people. If rates hold true to global averages, we can assume that at least:
50% of the population will get infected
15% of the infected population will need hospitalization
Amounting to over 11,250 people needing hospitalization
Equating to 1,000 dead based on (1.4% death rate)
Taking a look at all favelas in Rio. There are about 2 million total residents. So we can expect around 14,000 deaths in the favelas alone if major preventative measures are not taken, which seems highly unlikely.
ACE Projects, unfortunately, does not have the infrastructure to supply medical aid. However, we are taking preventative action against initial infection and trying to mitigate subsequent problems.
First, we are teaming up with our local leaders and students running informational videos encouraging favela residents to stay home and follow basic guidelines to stop the spread of the virus. Here is a video we recently released to our social media channels
Most of the favela residents live paycheck to paycheck. They do not have the earning potential to build a savings account. That means as the economy starts to shut down, they are the section of the population that is going to feel it first.
To help against complete financial collapse, ACE Projects will pay all of our local leaders 70% of their monthly salary despite the closure of all our local centers. This will help keep them afloat and keep money circulating in the favelas.
Finally, ACE Projects is running a fundraising campaign, trying to fundraise £2,000 for immediate emergency use.
50% of the funds we raise will go directly towards prevention and containment. The other 50% will go to our local leaders who are running campaigns in the form of providing food to their respective communities.
We can not understate the fear that we are feeling in Brazil. If the virus replicates what is happening in Europe and the USA, the situation in Brazil is going to become dire.
We understand that the demand for donations is exceptionally high, and most of you have personal well-being to be concerned with. However, if there was ever a time to come together globally, as one people, the time is now.
This may be the only moment in our lifetimes where the global community faces a truly common enemy. This precedes religion, race, and political differences. We all feel the same fear. The same anxiety. We now have an opportunity to set aside our differences and come together as a global community: to work together to create a united movement and a better future..
Don’t let this opportunity pass without action.