Women of Associação Amigos de Gegê Dos Moradores da Gamboa de Baixo

“ The government wanted to take all of us away from here, and we didn’t want to leave. We don’t need to ask people for anything, right? For so many years we had been living in wooden shacks, but it was ours. They wanted to remove us, but we didn’t give up. . . .” -Dona Lenilda

This neighborhood association was started by the women of Gamboa de Baixo, Salvador, Brazil after their community was blamed for the many cholera-related deaths that devastated their neighborhood in 1992. The Association demanded that the state take responsibility and test the neighborhood’s water sources for contamination. The outcome of their effort proved the cholera victims had died from the contaminated water provided by the city and not from the neighborhood’s natural water. Eventually, the women’s collective action led to the development of additional social services.

The group also played a significant role in fighting for land ownership and adequate housing. They fought against urban renewal projects that aimed to displace families through “revitalization” projects. The women mobilized their community and joined forces with other black activist groups, students and professors at the local architecture schools to design their own proposal for new houses to stave off relocation. These efforts resulted in a national housing program that guaranteed the construction of better houses for the neighborhood
DISCIPLINE Community Organizer/Activism