How People’s Palace Projects has adapted its work during COVID-19 in one of the most affected countries in the world – Brazil – and why we have to carry on.

March, 2021 – People’s Palace Projects has a long history working with vulnerable people in Brazil, from prisons, to favelas and indigenous territories.

Now, with the intense surge of cases leading to a severe new wave, this South American country is once again in the spotlight. There have been more than 265,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the country, and our Brazilian partners are at the very centre of this global crisis.

The people we work with are vastly exposed to the damage caused by the virus as they lack access to healthcare and mental health provisions and receive very little economic support from the government.

For this reason, we feel it is important to carry on with projects in Brazil, supporting our partner organisations, putting health protocols in place, conducting risk assessments and adapting research methodologies to function primarily on digital platforms. This is at the core of PPP’s work for more than 20 years: using the power of the arts against all adversities.

  • In the Amazon region, we fundraised with international partners for the Kuikuro people to keep them in isolation. They bought food, petrol, PPE and medicine, built a quarantine house and a health clinic and hired a private doctor and nurse. As a result they didn’t lose anyone to Covid-19 in the first wave, despite having almost a quarter of their village infected. They are now fully vaccinated. Read Impact Case study here.
  • We delivered remotely 100 hours of creative writing workshops to six poets from Maré, one of the largest favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Together they created Becos– an audio drama in four acts available on all podcast platforms. This is part of an international research project – Building the Barricades  that studies the impact of violence on mental health of 140,000 residents of Maré. The dissemination of this project is under review as the situation in Brazil changes.
  • Our homeless choir, With One Voice, hasn’t been able to sing again quite yet, but they have weekly socially-distanced meetings at Museum of Tomorrow, where they receive a hot meal and talk about their mental health. Members of the choir were invited to take part in Send a Smile project. They’ve designed and written post cards telling what makes them happy. Their work will be on display in Coventry, in October, alongside postcards sent by people who experience homelessness from all over the world.
  • PPP created a project with our partner in Rio de Janeiro, Redes da Maré, alongside other community arts organisations in Buenos Aires, Lima and Bogotá to support the mental health of young people through the pandemic, as well as understand the impacts the pandemic had in those organisations. The project, Far Apart but Close at Heart, has been adapted to work with young people in the UK, facilitated by five arts centres.
  • With Inhotim, Brazil’s most prestigious contemporary open air art museum, we are working, remotely, to train five selected local arts organisations, including artists from indigenous communities and quilombolas- descendants of slaves – to help them create inventories of their cultural practices and cultural heritage. The artists live around Brazil’s largest ore reserve, where there have been two recent major dam failures, causing not only contamination of the environment but also the loss of thousands of jobs and irreplaceable cultural artefacts and historical sites. Read about Roots of Resilience here.

To learn more about our current projects in Brazil, UK, Latin America, India and Pakistan please visit our projects page.