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– Thaís Mazzo da Costa, Coordenadora do projeto Pureco & Student at University of Campinas (Brazil)

Due to the Covid pandemic, Pureco Project had to re-configure the ways that it usually works. The project began as an digital platform, available in the Play Store, in which the group of women we work with could manage and offer cleaning services. The app invites users to create an account, share information about their home and cleaning needs, chose a day and time, and purchase a cleaning service. The app is easy, practical and efficient. We use entrepreneurial strategies to increase job opportunities, and thus improve the quality of life for the women at Vila Esperança and their families, while promoting a culture of female empowerment which will help them in other areas, such as independence and self-confidence. The app was released in April 2018 and before the COVID lockdown it generated almost R$70.000 (more or less US$ 18422.75).

When the COVID pandemic hit, the app couldn’t be used anymore as it had been previously. We have a color-stage based returning plan in São Paulo, and we needed to wait to the “green stage” so we could restart offering home cleaning with safer working conditions.  It was unclear if the community we work with would have money to pay internet bills and keep in contact with us. However, our team saw an opportunity to create something new and to continue to pursue our mission: help a community in need.

Soon after the pandemic began, Enactus Unicamp Campinas team developed a new temporary project with the initial focus of raising money to buy basic food kits. With the campaign “R$15.000 in 15 days” we raised enough money to buy those kits and distribute them for three months to one hundred families living in Jardim Santa Mônica.

We’ve also been using this time as an opportunity to strengthen our internal structures. We’re focused on moving our social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, studying and preparing a plan to increase our area of operation to three other nearby places, and structuring the project’s partnership presentation to expand cleaning services from the domestic space to the commercial space as well. Additionally, we finished an update to the app which will be soon available not only in the Play Store but also in the Apple App Store. We’ve recently implemented a biweekly follow-up to track progress and to better understand the situation of the women who participate in the program: if they need something; if they accepted another job; and the financial status of the women and their dependents as women in most cases are the sole income providers in their homes.

The project has been able to offer participants monthly financial assistance so that they have continued internet access and we can keep contact with them. We’ve been offering them online training videos and we receive their feedback in our follow-up conversations. Some of our themes were: ‘Fighting Fake News’ (what is true and what is false and how to disseminate this information), ‘Covid’ (what we know about it and what to avoid) and ‘Using Personal Protective Equipment’ (the importance of using gloves and masks to work).

Empathy, hard work and determination are the keys for the success of any project through these difficult times.