Women shortening distances to build a better Brazil

In Porto Alegre, Mulher em Construção offers free courses in various areas of civil construction. The organization has already trained four thousand women in the labor market as quarry workers, painters, tile makers, potters, electricians and hydraulic repairers.

In the capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, the Arquitetura na Periferia project teaches low-income women how to evaluate and find solutions for their own homes. They learn everything from planning and building new rooms to laying floors and creating hydraulic systems.

There are over 1,100 miles separating these two initiatives that have so much in common: empowering women to build and repair their environments. But in October, BrazilFoundation’s Collaborative Arrangements program managed to shorten the distance and fund a meeting, in Porto Alegre, between the two groups. They spent two days working together.

“It was a very rich exchange of experiences,” says Carina Guedes, the founder of Arquitetura na Periferia. “Getting to know people involved in the same area as us, that are going through the same difficulties. It is empowering and gives us even more desire to forge ahead.” The mineira institution, founded in 2013, says that it learned from Mulher em Construção how a social organization works, drawing from its 11-year experience in the social sector. “In return, I believe we have shared our methodology of collective thinking to build a space, something that they will to try to implement in southern Brazil,” says Carina.

“It was exciting to share our experience with women who share our desires,” says Bia Kern, founder of Mulher em Construção. “The Collaborative Arrangements program was fundamental to this exchange which brought us more knowledge.”

Both of these initiatives are participating in BrazilFoundation #abraceobrail campaign. Visit the website abraceobrasil.org.