The Work of Holding Hands
“Holding Hands” could be the name of the group in which I work in a social project here in Rio de Janeiro, because we are doing exactly that. We are women of humble origins and various upbringings; catholic, umbandista, evangelical etc. and despite all of our different religions, every day, we leave our humble homes in the favela and give our hands to our work so it will be completed with total love, meticulousness and dedication.
A big event of great bearing happens in Rio called ‘Fashion Rio’. It is a fashion event that you may already know about. It is a dream I thought was very far away and now I find myself working at this event and being able to show the world that we, women of the favela, of varied races and upbringings can show how talented and united we are in our work. We can show that we have many artists, women who didn’t have the opportunity to go to college and yet can integrate into society and show our talent. The name of the group is “Toque de Mao’ ‘Touch of the Hand’. It might as well be “Holding Hands” as it has so much to do with World Pulse’s title. It is all about the way we do our work. We paint, embroider and sew. We also receive lectures by Brazilian artists who present a canvas of material. We work with recycled trash.
In the middle of a shoot out in our communities that sometimes begins in the early morning we have to wait for a ceasefire to be able to leave our house and not lose a day of work. This for us is a conquest every day. What we earn is not yet sufficient to better our lives but it is already substantial for those of us who live in this reality. Despite all of this difficulty I wake up every day of my life thanking God for one more day of life. Then I step into a reality that unites me with my companions to begin the work of ‘holding hands’.