People's Palace Projects

One Voice Homeless Choir, Brazil (Coral Uma só Voz)

fundraising for One Voice homeless Choir in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to be able to continue weekly - a vital choir set up and run by people with experience of homelessness to meet up weekly, sing, share stories and seek support and comfort through art
by 6 supporters
RCN 1085607

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Singing in the choir, for me, is part of a new life. Its like this is my heart and its pumping my energy to the right places. This is what motivates me." - Alessandro, ex-homeless member of the Uma só Voz Choirs


With all weekly activities suspended until further notice, we are not able to offer Choir members the meal that is normally provided weekly at rehearsals. We are asking for your donation to offer them a basic food allowance during this pandemic and to keep the project alive after the crisis.

Our Choirmaster, Ricardo Branco, has encouraged many of Choir members to return to their family homes if possible. Where this is not possible, they are referred to a statutory service provided by Rio de Janeiros Council that provides emergency accommodation and a very basic food voucher ("cesta básica") and sanitary essentials. But not all of these requests have been granted. So far 11 out of 70 members have been helped in this way.

In normal times, our monthly expenditure costs around R$ 6,606 Brazilian Reais (or £ 927 at todays conversion rate). The money goes to paying our choir leader, transport and food for choir members and marketing material, such as the t-shirts used in performances.

Once we are back, your support will help to keep our dream going, allowing more people to join the choirs and giving hope and perspective to people usually invisible to societies eyes.

A little bit of our history:

The Uma só Voz Choirs were originally part of the international With One Voice project, developed by UK NGO Streetwise Opera for London 2012 Olympics.

Picking up this thread after the Olympics, the initiative spent three years researching and promoting exchange programmes to support the sector in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. This resulted in the creation of the Uma só Voz Choirs and the development of a network that would work together to produce a special programme for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

We hosted around 40 talks, pop up performances, workshops and seminars. The initiative was supported by British Council, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK and Macquarie Group Foundation.

Since then, the One Voice (Uma só Voz) Choirs have been performing in Rio de Janeiro. Formed by people with experience of homelessness, the choir meets up every week to rehearse, sing, share stories and seek support and comfort through art. Currently, over 70 people are participating in the project, divided into six choirs, rehearsing in shelters, day centres, NGOs and public spaces.

By singing together, people who experience daily invisibility in the streets recover their dignity and self-esteem. Members find a place to express themselves, meet new people in the same situation, regain hope and start to look ahead again. Performing live for an audience in some of the most iconic venues in the city has a great impact on their confidence and sense of acknowledgement.

The choirs have become a support network, reinforcing the importance of art as a tool for social change. Around 20% of those who joined the choirs found jobs and left the streets, and around 30% say they find it easier to avoid alcohol and drugs while in the choirs.

The initiatives legacy funding ended in 2018. We want to keep dreaming and singing! We are asking that people touched by our story donate a small sum to the cause and become a Friend of the Uma só Voz Choirs.

Why arts and homelessness?

Worldwide, the common approach when it comes to people with experience of homelessness is to provide basic needs, such as food and shelter. This helps with the effects, but not with the causes behind homelessness.

The Arts and Homelessness Movement subverts common practices and offers a different approach to investing in people, with confidence, dignity and self-esteem.

A survey conducted by Streetwise Opera (2015-16) revealed that, of the 725 homeless people engaged in UK arts projects interviewed, 97% felt their mental health got better after joining arts programmes, 84% improved or maintained their optimism towards life and 80% felt inspired to engage in other activities and plans.

The work can also influence public policies, making the voices of homeless people heard and acknowledged as part of society.

A word from the choir members

I feel accomplished, because when you live in the streets, you feel worthless, nobody pays attention to us. But then when we sing, people start talking to you: oh, I saw you singing and I think my little star is shining. I feel like Im recognised as an artist. Valeria, member of the choir and almost 10 years living in the streets.

Ive been singing for almost a year in this choir. I like all of the songs. I had never sung before, and now Im here. Its exciting to perform because this is something I never thought I would do in my life. Getting applauded from all sides is very exciting. Because its like weve fallen down when were on the street. Our self-esteem is low.- Elisabeth Miguel, member of the choir and 12 months living in the streets

I'm so happy, I've changed after this (the choir). This is a new opportunity for us, for people who gave up, who thought they could never achieved anything anymore in life. We have the choir now to give us hope. Ezio Gabriel, member of the choir

Who is behind the Choirs in Brazil?

In Brazil, the initiative is managed by NGO Peoples Palace Projects alongside the With One Voice International Movement and Streetwise Opera. Many amazing partners help us keep going: Secretary of Social Development and Human Rights of Rio de Janeiro, the Homeless People Movement in Brazil, Pastoral da Rua and Rio's Public Defenders, to name a few.

Be our friend and support the With One Voice Choirs in Brazil to keep singing! Donate today!

About the charity

Set up in 1996 to explore ways in which arts can respond to urgent social crises, PPP has had an international focus from its inception spending 20 years creating and debating art, through creative projects and cultural exchange programmes that make a difference to people’s lives

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