“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’.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to My Story: Holding Hands.


You are doing a really big work! Its so nice that you wanna help! Keep your working if everyone be like you,in our country we have a such of problems.

Your courage to face each day with hope is so inspiring for so many women across the world. Creative expression is such a powerful tool for empowerment and provides a shield against the cruel reality of life in the favelas. I hope that you will continue to share your work with us and maybe post some images of the wonderful pieces you are all creating. With best wishes, Janice

Dearest Ivaldete,

It is so wonderful to hear your voice again in our community! We have missed your beautiful words, your stories and your honesty. We heard word from Jocelyn that you are well. You are in our hearts along with your children and your neighbors - as we wish you peace and safety.

And we celebrate in this beautiful event, Toque de Mao!

Love, Jade

What I write comes from the depth of my soul. I get happy knowing that I can involve other women in true stories of my life. I want all of you to know that you all give me so much inspiration. This is the force of us women. A feminine force that brings me to write and believe that we can make a different world with these examples that all of us give. I am grateful from my heart for the opportunity to be able to write about my community and with certainty I will continue to write more and more. I will also write beautiful things about the favela, because not just violence comes from the favela. There are also beautiful things to show. I am excited to put photos up of my work that I make with the energy you all send me, which inspires me to create. Thank you! Until soon! With love, Val

oi sou a val