2007 Systemic Change Award - Curitiba

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PROVINCE OF Brazil - Curatiba

Project “Macon” in the city of Curitiba

Systemic Change Award 2007 - The population of “street people” is growing in the city of Curitiba. Little by little, these human beings are losing their dignity, their self-esteem, their family ties and they are taking refuge in drugs and prostitution, because they are unable to manage their own lives.

In the face of this situation, the priests and seminarians of the Vincentian Seminary, Our Lady of Grace, timidly began their service by taking food to the square in front of the cathedral on certain nights. The foundation, Social Action of Curitiba, invited them to participate in a joint service. From that was born the project, “Macon,” to recall the experience that Saint Vincent had in the city of Macon, and which later united other public and private organisms of the city.

Purpose of the project:

To give people who live on the street, in the center of the city of Curitiba, a space where they can take care of their basic needs, recover their self-esteem, become socially integrated, and exercise their rights as citizens.

In order to “take care of their basic needs,” there is the Cohabitation House, offered by the prefecture, where meals, facilities for personal hygiene, clothing, health care and physical and cultural activities are available.

For the purpose of “recovering self-esteem,” the possibility of collaborating in the work of the house, times of spiritual reflection, individual and group work in order to stimulate their own resources and develop a sense of community.

The “social integration” is carried out by promoting professional workshops, which promote relationships among them and offer professional qualification for future integration in the marketplace. Courses in management of their own resources in order to arrive at financial independence are also given. They are oriented toward the “exercise of their rights as citizens” through information about the resources of the social-assistance network in accord with their needs.

Participation in the project permits the seminarians to be involved directly in the service of the poor, in the line of Vincent de Paul, and in collaboration with other public and private institutions. At the same time, it has enabled the formation program to establish the Association of the Miraculous Medal in the province.