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Swiss Re and Habitat for Humanity partner to end poverty



In Brazil, more than 50 percent of women live in poverty. They earn only half of what men do, and it is hard to break this cycle of poverty. In some areas, the production of cassava flour is the main activity to gain an income. Habitat for Humanity Brazil partners with The Swiss Re Foundation to give women at the cassava factories a chance of a safe and decent home.

Overworked and underpaid

Many women who work at the factories live in bad conditions. Their homes have no water or sewage systems.

These women start peeling cassava as children. Their chance to get a proper education is extremely low. Almost 20 percent of them are illiterate, and 75 percent have an incomplete primary education.

Women work more than 12 hours a day for 6 days a week and earn only half of the minimum wage per month, depending on how much cassava they peel.  Habitat Brazil started the Rebuilding Women’s Lives Sustainably project to create better living conditions for 100 women and their families in Feira Nova. This project will build new homes and will also integrate various social development programs.


swissre02.jpgSixty-three homes have already been built and five more are under construction

Dreams do come true

For Maria Alaide de Lira, 48, a new home is a dream: “We want to change and to improve our lives. I live in a small rental home for which I pay US$60 a month. I live with my husband, my daughter and two granddaughters.  I hope to be happy in our new house, where we’ll have more space, comfort, and better conditions to take care of our daughter and grandchildren.”

So far sixty-three homes have been built with the help of Global Village volunteers from all around the world. Five more are under construction.

The most valuable partner is The Swiss Re Foundation. The amount donated contributes and complements governmental grants that make possible the construction of 25 new homes and important community development support for the Feira Nova community.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that brings together people of all races, nationalities and religions to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by building and improving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. An estimated 17,000 of these families are in Europe and Central Asia, where Habitat has been active since the 1990s. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit

About The Swiss Re Foundation

The Swiss Re Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to care and concern for society and the environment.  Launched in 2012 by the global re/insurer Swiss Re, the Foundation aims to make people more resilient towards natural hazards, climate change, population growth, water scarcity and pandemics, along with other challenges to society’s security, health and prosperity. It also supports community projects and employee volunteering in locations where Swiss Re has offices.