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X-ray of the outskirts

Three districts on the outskirts of the city are the target of a study that is being carried out by scholars from the University of Ribeirão Preto (Unaerp), with the support of FAPESP. As the project develops, it will show how many people live in Jardim Progresso, the Avelino Alves Palma Housing Estate and the Anhangüera Estate (a farm split into plots), in Ribeirão Preto, as well as where they came from and why, and how they live. “Today, the municipal government does not have any precise details about these places.

Starting from the basic premise in anthropology, of getting to know communities from the inside, we are doing field diaries and interviews and observing reality”, says sociologist Maria Esther Fernandes, who is coordinating the project. The information gathered will provide the input for forming public policies on education, health, security, sanitation, transport, employment, environment and others. The intention of the coordinators is to organize a book with these details.

Part of the funds form FAPESP was invested in the purchase of equipment to help recording the day-to-day, such as cameras, videocams and tape recorders. The project has been in its second stage since last October. “Since we started the field research, several aspects have turned out to be important, like the problem of violence. In working shoulder to shoulder, we have enlisted the collaboration of the policemen who serve the community in Jardim Progresso”, the sociologist says. There is a growing involvement of community leaders in the project, in particular those who are working with the Church Health program. The participation of the public authorities has also expanded.

The formal partner of the is the city Department for Citizenship and Social Development. However, the Departments for Education and for Health have joined the team that works in Jardim Progresso, formerly Jardim Sem-Teto, an area occupied five years ago by some two thousand families coming, in the main, from the north-east of Brazil and the Jequitinhonha valley in Minas, searching for the jobs that the then called California in São Paulo used to promise. With the migrants from those regions, they intend to do a job that will serve as a model.