Actress Jo Joyner stands by Brazil’s poorest with CAFOD
5 September 2013
Award-winning actress Jo Joyner is backing CAFOD's calls for people in Britain to stand by families in the poorest communities of Brazil.
Jo, whose work includes No Angels, Dr Who and most notably her role as Tanya in Eastenders, has spent the last week visiting community projects supported by CAFOD in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, and films of her visit will be featured throughout the week on ITV’s Daybreak programme.
The world's spotlight will fall on São Paulo over the next year as it prepares to host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup in June. While billions of pounds are being spent to prepare for the tournament, 3.5 million people are still living in poverty in São Paulo, and their needs and rights are all too often being ignored.
Speaking on her return from São Paulo, Jo said:
“We’re going to hear a lot about Brazil over the next year as it gets ready to host the World Cup. And a lot of what we’ll see on our TVs will be all the glitz and the glamour. I was really intrigued to the other side of Brazil and find out what life is like for the millions of people who are trapped in a cycle of poverty and living in terrible conditions.
“It’s been a real eye opener and I have seen some deeply troubling sights: precariously built up favelas, people living on the banks of an open sewer, a home literally built inside an electricity pylon - really shocking stuff, but the over-riding feeling I come away with is hope.
"I have met some real characters, strong, passionate, tough people - mostly women and mothers in fact - who are leading the charge. They struggle and strive every day to make a better life, not just for their family but for their whole community.
“It’s been a privilege to see the amazing work that CAFOD and its local partners are doing to support those families, and help them stand up for their rights.”
"I think a lot of people would agree that we have seen a bit of an erosion in community spirit in the UK over the last few decades and I think we could really learn a thing or two from the poor communities in Brazil, about pulling together and taking care of each other.
"When I asked people about the World Cup coming to Brazil, the general consensus was that people were excited. They could see that it could be a great opportunity for Brazil to showcase all it has to offer as nation, but there was a feeling that this is not the right time.
"This World Cup will be the most expensive in history, costing £8.8 billion to host, but people in São Paulo are being told there is no money for proper housing, schools or hospitals.
“I hope people here at home will support CAFOD’s work, and join me in calling on the Brazilian government and the authorities in São Paulo to start putting the needs of the poorest people first.”
Watch Daybreak all week and visit this page each day to see Jo's diary of her visit.
CAFOD has been working in São Paulo for over 30 years with local partner organisations MDF and APOIO, who work alongside favela communities to help them speak out for their needs, fight evictions, and negotiate with the local authorities for improved living conditions.