Rafael Vilela

Paraisópolis Street Presidents
Location: São Paulo, Brasil
Nationality: Brazilian
Biography: vilelaovilela@gmail.com Rafael Vilela is an independent Brazilian photographer currently reporting on social injustice and the environmental crisis in his country. He was one of the founders of Midia NINJA , an initiative that today has more than... MORE
Public Story
Paraisópolis Street Presidents
Copyright Rafael Vilela 2023
Updated Jan 2021
Topics Editorial, Essays, Pandemics, Photography, Photojournalism
Paraisópolis is the second largest slum in São Paulo, with 75,000 inhabitants. Due to the lack of state assistance during the pandemic, residents organized to address the effects of the disease and take care of the most vulnerable: 655 street presidents were elected, and 90% of them were women according to data from the Paraisópolis Residents' Association. Among the functions of each president was to register the families on the street to distribute basic food baskets, cleaning kits, and reach out for medical assistance in case residents were infected with the disease. The Residents Association also hired ambulances and private doctors for Paraisópolis. Due to this popular organization, Paraisópolis had a better control of COVID-19 than the city of São Paulo according to the Pólis Institute, presenting on May 18, 2020 a mortality rate for the disease of 21.7 people per 100,000 inhabitants, below the municipal average mortality of 56.2.  
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Paraisópolis Street Presidents by Rafael Vilela
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