The Ameropa Foundation has accompanied Mãe Luiza since 1992. At the time, Mãe Luiza was a miserable favela. Together with the leading people of the Centro Sócio-Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição, founded by Padre Sabino in 1980, we had the vision to change this slum-like settlement into a modest community offering a life in peace and dignity. Today, even if still poor and troubled, burdened by criminal drug traffic, Mãe Luiza is no longer a slum, but a lively and buoyant community of about 16’000 inhabitants and is seen as a model for the surrounding favelas.
The Ameropa Foundation has helped create and is still supporting:
- A kindergarten
- A school for children aged 6 to 16
- A music school
- A social centre for the residents of Mãe Luiza
- A home for senior citizens
- The Arena do Morro, a sports- and cultural center designed pro bono by the architects Herzog & de Meuron.
- Continued endeavours to implement the “Vision for Mãe Luiza”, an urbanistic vision for the development of the community. This vision was devised in partnership with the community, the architects Herzog & de Meuron and the Centro Sócio-Pastoral.
It is with pleasure that we can state that some of the interventions envisioned by Herzog & de Meuron have already been partially or fully implemented:
- Two thirds of the tree shadowed walkway, the so called green street, has been realized.
- Public spaces such as the market place have been improved by adorning them with colourful cobblestones, providing games such as chess and adding benches to linger.
- Some sidewalks have been improved.
- Mae Luiza’s main street has finally been tarred anew.
- The waste collection has been reorganized leading to a better situation.
- After a landslide pushed its way from Mae Luiza to the shore the opportunity was taken to granting the people of Mae Luiza direct access to the ocean and a broad stairway was built and the surroundings embellished.
- Last but not least, Natal has received a new shoreline promenade.