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beyond paraisópolis Adriano de Oliveira, resident of Paraisópolis going with his father to sell drinks in front of stadiums and concert halls, or even by selling barbecue in front of their house. Nevertheless, he was the first of four children to go to a university. With his parents once again unemployed, Oliveira has become solely responsible for the upkeep of the family’s house. Despite his tight budget, he never fails to pay the college tuition of R$350 (about US $200). ‘I have to sacrifice a little now because college represents my future’, he says. Tennis, too, represents Oliveira’s ticket to a different life. Like many residents of Paraisópolis, Oliveira approached the sport when he got a job as tennis court assistant, charged with picking up the balls during classes practiced by residents of the wealthy neighbourhood of Morumbi. Adriano de Oliveira, age 21, goes energetically after the goals he plotted for his future: to teach tennis and to raise a family outside of the slum where he grew up, and where he lives today with his parents and girlfriend. To that end, Oliveira takes evening courses in physical education and works for a social project in the slum of Paraisópolis. The youngest son of a janitor and a maid, Oliveira was born in the nearby Jardim Porto Seguro to a family of migrants from Campina Grande, Paraíba. The family shifted from the southern to the eastern region of São Paulo, to live in a house that would be later demolished by the municipality for the construction of the Jacu-Pêssego Avenue. The amount of money the family received after the demolition of their house was enough to build a wooden shack in Paraisópolis, where they moved while they waited for a social housing unit to be offered by CDHU, the sate construction company for social housing. Oliveira’s family waited for an apartment in Itaim Paulista, also in the city’s eastern zone, for four years. During part of this time, his parents worked on the construction of their self-help apartment on the weekends. When the construction was finished, the family moved to their new apartment, but they did not stay long. They found it too difficult to adapt to the new longer-distance trips to work and the children’s schools, so they returned to Paraisópolis, where they managed to replace their old wooden shack with a more durable brick house. In Paraisópolis, Oliveira lived a difficult childhood and adolescence. In the several periods when his father was unemployed, he helped the family make money by

In addition to opening doors to a profession, this work has taught him how to relate to people of a different social reality than his own. ‘The only difference between us is on the material plane’, he asserts. ‘The knowledge that we have is the same’. Oliveira recognizes, though, that the two worlds meet just because one of them provides services to the other. ‘I don’t like the existence of this difference, but society forces us to just be their service providers rather than be together with them. I wish we could be on the same level of employment, having the same opportunities’, he says, noting that the favelados of Paraisópolis should be able to do more than just work as maids, nannies and kitchen assistants to the rich of Morumbi. Oliveira likes using the Internet, walking in the city parks, reading books, going to the movies and buying clothes in shopping centre stores. On such occasions, he feels more comfortable if he is well dressed. Inside the slum, he consumes only fast food and fresh bread, buying everything else he needs outside of the limits of Paraisópolis. Although Oliveira himself is living proof that it is possible to overcome difficulties and avoid the future that seems inevitable for many slum dwellers, he is afraid of the base influences there and wants to keep his future children far away from this reality. ‘I do not want to have a family in here’, he says. ‘Although the infrastructure has improved in the last years, with water, electricity and telephone in most homes, the use of drugs is increasingly visible. This is not the place to give someone a proper education’. Image: Marcelo Min Fotogarrafa Agency

Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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