Cruzada São Sebastião

In 1955, Dom Hélder Câmara, Archbishop of Recife and Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro, launched the Cruzada São Sebastião (St. Sebastian's Crusade), a federally financed project to build an apartment complex of 10 buildings in the biggest favela at the time, Praia do Pinto, located in between Leblon and Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas neighborhoods, in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro city. The goal of the Cruzada was to transform favela dwellers into citizens by only housing those willing to give up the vices associated with favela life. Fifty-five years later, St. Sebastian’s inhabitants were abandoned by government and have no assistance. Leblon is the richest and fanciest neighborhood in Rio and there is no relationship between these two different realities in the same neighborhood. The population at St. Sebastian’s is black in its majority and in most part of the families there is a woman in charge of the house - In this photo Isabela Arruda (right), 18 yo, was born and grew up at the Crusade. Photo Marizilda Cruppe/EVE.