Ô Culpa
"Ô Culpa" is the result of a process of conviviality started in August 2019 and which has been developing so far. It is the result of an immersion of learning and exchange, in which are revealed narratives of life, overcoming stories and the most varied adversities that life offers.

The project is launched intimately in the daily life of a housing occupation in São Paulo where approximately 35 families who do not own their homes - or who lost their homes for some reason - started to live in the same space under a viaduct in Bom Retiro under certain rules, of which stand out the prohibition of drug use, noise at inappropriate times, hygiene in shared places and prioritization of harmonious living, which does not always prevail amid so many complications.

"Ô Culpa" comes from conceptual ambiguity in contrast to a sound affinity that exists at the heart of the word guilt and the verb occupy - or occupation – (in Portuguese), dealing with a social issue that is a fundamental right. Be guilty of occupying a space without belonging. A house, but not a home. For these families, the future is the uncertainty of an ephemeral residence under a viaduct and the result, this shared guilt. Guilt of all of us. "Ô Culpa".
A recurring problem with no resolution horizon. The housing shortage in the metropolitan region of São Paulo has broken a record, and the state of São Paulo currently has a housing deficit of around 1.8 million households, according to figures presented by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV). Since 2011, this deficit has more than doubled in size, growing at an average rate of 10% per year. The queue for popular housing exceeds 1 million subscribers, but the budget for these constructions has been decreasing exponentially year after year. In 2019 there was a drop of 20% compared to the previous year. The current amount of rent assistance (pre-pandemic) is R $ 400 and lasts for one year. Just over 27 thousand families currently receive the benefit at an approximate cost of R $ 130 million per year. In 2019, with a change in the Municipal Housing Legislation, in which the "high risk of social vulnerability" factor was excluded for the opportunity of receiving aid, the possibility of including families to obtain the benefit is increasingly restricted.


"... but, I never had the love of a mother, I can't say what that is."
Marcela was born in São Paulo and, as a baby, was given away several times to other families. When she was 5 or 6 years old, the woman Marcela lived with, giving the excuse that they were going for a walk, took her back to her birth mother. The mother rejected her immediately, said that she wouldn't stay with her. She was then taken to another couple, who already took care of Marcela's other brother. At that time, she moved to Pernambuco, where she stayed until she was 12 years old. Back in São Paulo, Marcela went after her biological mother again and this time she got to know her better. Her mother passed away four years ago, in the same period Marcela also lost a brother, due to drug addiction.

At the age of 16 she was already a mother, her then partner, Cido, died in a prison after the birth of the couple's second daughter. Then she met Leandro, her current husband, and with him she had two more children. Marcela led a vulnerable life, and started to use drugs and alcohol. Crack led her to abandon everything and end up on the streets of Crackland. The eldest daughter took care of the brothers.

Marcela ended up being arrested and says that, that day, her life started to change. In jail she got involved with a boy and ended up getting pregnant with her fifth child, Ryan. His sentence of one year and eight months was the period of change with the abandonment of drugs. She considers that this time has helped her to treat herself and recover. She left prison free of addictions, recovered her children and never put a glass of alcohol in her mouth again. In addition to her children, she takes care of her grandson Davi.

Marcela today is a reference for many people. Her struggle for dwelling helped many families to find a home and dignity that was always rejected by the conditions that prevail. She is a leader in her community, organizing meetings and helping to solve everyday problems in the occupation. She gets donations and actions from NGOs, churches and other institutions and is always on the front line. She says she doesn't have to forget her past, but always remember to never happen again.



"Most difficult of my life? It was to be without my children."
Daiana is thirty-six years old and has seven children. She lived with her parents until she was a young adult, even though she did not get along with her father. One day, when she was already living with her children in a very small home, her father sold the place, living her with nothing. Their relation was troublesome, but she had no means to sustain her children and leaving, was not an option. Everything went worst when her partner's father took the children from her. She was devastated, she knew she wouldn´t be able to regain her children for not having a home of her own or any kind of remuneration.

The desperation led her to start using drugs. She was already living on the streets when she first smoked crack and spend the next eight years doing so. The turning point for her was when she met her husband, according to Daiana, he was the one who inspired her to get rid of drugs.

Now, holding her twin babies, she struggles to get a proper house and good living conditions for her family. Her longtime dream to be reunite with her older children came true after the twins were born. A friend found them on an online social platform and brought them together. The children were amazed; they thought their mother had died long ago.
"My happiness was more like that, having all my children by my side."
Ilda was born in Paraná and started to work in the fields as soon as she was seven years old. Raised by adoptive parents – the owners of the land she worked for -, she was told that her mother traded her for a bottle of liquor and a piece of bread.

To this day, she feels anger towards her biological mother for that, even with the absence after she passed away.

At the age of seventeen, she came to São Paulo to try to make a living. She worked hard in several jobs.

When her first son turned two, Ilda met the man who became the father of her other three children. She spent ten years by his side; he was aggressive and beated her often. Today she lives in peace with Severino, her partner for the last twenty-six years. They live with Ryan, one of Ilda´s grandchildren, who would not leave his grandparent's home. In addition to her four children, Ilda has sixteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
On March 17 (pre-pandemic), after having all requests for assistance denied by the public power, the police and the official authorities continued with the eviction order and removal of families from the place. With the prior notice decreed by the police officializing the date of the action, the residents, trying to avoid a violent situation of confrontation, had already left the place. The demolition scene and the sounds of the destruction of what was home to many families and now came crashing down were shocking in the eyes of those who had that place as their only shelter.
"Images ... What can images do? They can take us towards to the other, revolt us, humanize us, warm us up. Images matter as far as they can heal us from the blindness that dominates the world today. Koraicho presents a work under construction here. Construction that we know will never end. And that leads us to photograph more and more against everything and everyone. Photographing is necessary."
— Eder Chiodetto
To be continued