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The Travessia Barcarena project showed excellent results after 11 months of making non-medical protective masks to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In all, 120 seamstresses were involved in the initiative, with 73 actually participating in the making of 170,000 masks. The socioeconomic inclusion of women from the municipality's communities represented an increase in income of over BRL 180,000. Most seamstresses were in a situation of long-term unemployment, that is, for more than a year, aggravated by the pandemic period.

Carried out by the Todos pelo Trabalho program, Alunorte and Albras, with support from the Sustainable Barcarena Initiative (IBS), the project has financial support from the Hydro Sustainability Fund (FSH) and PPA Solidariedade. “We are happy to contribute to the city's development with effective solutions for the time being. The initiative came to move the local economy and favor families that suffered the most impacts on their sources of access to work and income generation due to the pandemic”, says Eduardo Figueiredo, executive director of the Hydro Sustainability Fund.

Income generation – The seamstresses who joined the project declared that they had improved their skills in sewing. A survey carried out by the project identified that, of the project's target audience, 37% earn between one and two minimum wages and another 24.7% manage between half and one minimum wage per month. “The making of masks came to save us”, says seamstress Maria Elisabeth Araújo Dias. Before the pandemic, it had guaranteed production and made entire collections. The drop in income was accompanied by another concern: she had just brought three grandchildren from São Paulo, due to her daughter's difficulties. In addition to financial support for the family, the work carried out at home strengthened the bonds between them. "It went really well. I had time to talk to them, tell my stories. Today I can't see my life without my grandchildren around”, she adds.

When she joined the project, Rodineia Barros Costa didn't “sew it out”, as she says, and thought that she would make the masks in her own way, without following a pattern. She used the income to buy a new machine to continue sewing, now professionally. She also helped with the renovation of the family's house in the Vila Nova neighborhood. "I am very happy! I didn't think I would receive all the training and support I received. It was wonderful to learn, to see the importance of finishing. People motivated us by saying that our work would be seen by many people and this valued us. At the beginning, I even thought about giving up because I found it difficult, but I started receiving guidance, watching the videos, talking to the other seamstresses”, she says. 

Associations – Travessia Barcarena recognizes that partnerships with community organizations bring their actions closer to local needs and realities, enabling them to solve problems in a creative and innovative way. To do so, it involved three entities from Barcarena, respecting each group, they are: Luz Divina Community Association, Renascer em Cristo Residents Association and Vila Nova Community Center. The associations were directly benefited with participation proportional to the contribution of the seamstresses in making the masks. For each mask made by the seamstresses, the association received a transfer of funds in the amount of BRL 0.30, which served to subsidize articulation and monitoring activities, as well as improvements in its offices, from paintings and repairs to the purchase of furniture and equipment.

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