Janaína got her independence, a house in which to live, and a job (Photo Courtesy of the South American Division]

General Conference

Women Receive Housing and Social Support in a Project in Minas Gerais

House maintained by ADRA supports socially vulnerable and homeless people

Brazil | ADRA Brazil

One of the women assisted by the project is Janaína Pego. She lives in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, and with her mother's illness, she had to give up her informal babysitting job to take care of her mother, who died shortly afterwards.

With grief came depression. Janaína did not have the financial means to pay her rent. Thus, she began a dark trajectory on the streets of the capital of Minas Gerais, where she remained for four years. “Living on the streets is not easy. We don't have a place to sleep, to shower, we don't have lunch until we receive donations. There is a lot of violence, prejudice, contempt. You have to sleep with one eye closed and the other open,” she says.

The former nanny explains that society's indifference increases the suffering of homeless people. “People think that because we live on the street, we are inferior, but we are not. We are human beings, like everyone else. However, we are in a weakened situation and we need refuge,” she vents.

Reception and Security

In 2020, Janaína received this refuge through the Casa de Mulheres project, maintained by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), which has the support of the municipal administration of Belo Horizonte.

According to Cinara Rocha, the project coordinator, around 50 homeless women are welcomed at the site, which is in the Copacabana neighborhood. “We offer them a safe, comfortable home, in conditions so that they can, with technical support and access to other social policies, overcome the situation of vulnerability,” she explains.

The reception house has several furnished rooms, a kitchen, reception area, spacious living room, swimming pool, library, and comfortable beds, among other amenities. Cinara also emphasizes that women receive access to health, food, education, and leisure, among several other benefits that prepare them to reintegrate into society.

Transformation and Independence

That's what happened to Janaína. With the support of the ADRA project, she was referred to professional qualification courses in the areas of food handling, cooking, and crafts. “I went home with goals. I didn't want to stop. I wanted to change my life. With the help of the counselors, I went after courses and took care of my health, which was failing. My life has changed radically,” she says with emotion.

Janaína resumed her studies and completed high school. In 2021, she was awarded the housing grant, a subsidy offered by the municipality of Belo Horizonte, which makes it possible for beneficiaries to leave the shelter to live autonomously and safely in their own homes. “It was what I dreamed of the most: having my home. ADRA supported me a lot, gave me an opportunity to move on with my life and gain my independence,” celebrates Janaína.

As an example of overcoming and motivation for the other beneficiaries of the service, Janaína was hired by ADRA and started to work as a kitchen assistant at Casa de Mulheres, the project that welcomed her. 

"This project is fundamental to assist women who are on the street suffering various types of violence, especially in the current context in which many people find themselves, without the minimum conditions of survival," Cinara points out.

You Can Help

The Casa de Mulheres project seeks volunteers who can work in workshops and vocational courses and also help with the donation of feminine hygiene items, clothes in good condition, shoes, underwear, and bedding, among other needs.

You can also make a donation through pix CNPJ 16.524.054/0002-77 and help dozens of people who are going through difficult times like Janaína had.

Volunteers who are interested in participating in the projects can schedule a visit to the unit to get to know up close all the actions that are so necessary for vulnerable women.

This article was originally published on the South American Division’s news site