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On November 5, 2015, the city of Mariana, in the state of Minas Gerais, was victim to the biggest environmental disaster in the history of Brazil. With the breakage of Barragem do Fundão dam, a sea of mud covered hundreds of towns, costing people’s lives and completely devastating the environment. Specialists affirm that the region will need over a decade to recover.

While Brazil’s government and the companies responsible for the disaster (Samarco, Vale, and Australian BHP Billiton Ltd) battle against billions in fines, more than 500 families who had their houses destroyed by the toxic tailings remain without answers as to when, how, and if they will have their homes back. These families can’t wait, and they need our help now.

The Brazil Curator supports two projects on behalf of the victims of this tragedy, Instituto Último Refúgio (Last Refugee Institute) and Tijolos de Mariana (Bricks of Mariana), and our goal is to raise enough awareness and donations to reach the greatest possible number of affected families in Mariana and its surroundings.

Learn more about these non-state, not-for-profit, voluntary organizations and please help us in making a difference in the lives of those who need the most. Our beautiful Brazil appreciates your help.

INSTITUTO ÚLTIMO REFÚGIO

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With the project Lágrimas do Rio Doce (Tears of the Sweet River), this organization produces a digital collection of photographs, videos, and interviews, featuring the everyday reality of the local wildlife and the inhabitants of the area, as well as highlighting that unsustainable development and the valorization of money over life come at a very high price. The collected material will be transformed into cultural products, exhibitions, articles, videos etc., in order to bring awareness to this cause around the world.

Until now, the project has been financed by small donations but we know that, with your help, we can inspire change and help it evolve into something greater. Be a part of this campaign by donating and sharing the idea with your friends, family and on social media, so that more people can get involved. Visit: ultimosrefugios.org.br (English)

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BRICKS OF MARIANA

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This project is helping accelerate the process of rebirth of this region, by cleaning the area, creating jobs, rebuilding houses, health and education centers, and generating revenue to the local communities.

Founded by Grey Brasil, in partnership with MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams), and the Laboratory of Geomaterials and Geotechnology of EEUFMG (School of Engineering of UFMG), the initiative is transforming the mud from the tragedy into clean, non-toxic raw material for the production of bricks. It’s been three months since the Tijolos de Mariana, or Bricks of Mariana are being handcrafted, with a production of a thousand units per month. However, a factory that will amplify the production goal to an industrial scale is about to come to life, but it needs our help for it to materialize.

Operated 100% by local workers, the factory of Bricks of Mariana will give back directly and indirectly 80 jobs to the local community. At the end of each year, more than 1 billion kilos of mud will have been removed from the environment, producing enough bricks to rebuild more than 1,200 public housing, hospitals, and schools in the region.

The production of Bricks of Mariana will also bring extra income to the community, and as in future plans, the new brand will be found for sale at hardware and construction material stores throughout Brazil, with profits reverted to the affected region.

So, putting this project to work is more than simply regretting a disaster; is about making a difference in the lives of the people who lost everything and are now seeking to rebuild from zero.

Please participate, contribute, and join us in rebuilding Mariana, brick by brick. Visit: tijolosdemariana.com.br (Portuguese)

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Author

Brazilian journalist based in Los Angeles