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In Brazil, a startup originated in the favela distributes packages where others fear to tread

For years, this maze of narrow alleys and block houses of concrete Precariously stacked, it was forbidden to Brazilian e-commerce delivery companies, considering it impassable and dangerous.

Even when online ordering skyrocketed during the pandemic, residents of Paraisópolis, a poor community of 100,000 people in the heart of São Paulo, often found their zip codes rejected when it came time to pay online.

“They blocked this area because they considered it a risk area,” said Givanildo Pereira Bastos, a 21-year-old resident.

To solve the problem, Pereira started Favela Brasil Xpress, a delivery company willing to go where others do not.

Packages arrive at a distribution center before being sorted and delivered to their final destination, sometimes navigating the narrow alleys by tuktuk or bicycle. Sometimes deliveries must be made on foot.

Favela Brasil Xpress has 90 workers in Paraisópolis, all of them residents of the community. Across the country, the company operates in eight favelas in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Pereira hopes to continue expanding.

“We had no idea how much the inhabitants of the favelas consume through electronic commerce. Only in Paraisópolis there are about 800 deliveries a day ”, declared Pereira.

But finding directions isn’t always easy, even for a knowledgeable resident like Pereira.

“Even I had some difficulties making deliveries,” he said, recalling a delay in locating the address of a man who had been waiting for a dataphone for four months. By the time he arrived, the man’s business had already closed.

Pereira hopes that his company can contribute to reducing inequality.

“We do not want to live in two ‘Brazil’. We want to live in a single Brazil, where the inhabitant of a favela has the same rights as someone who lives in a rich neighborhood ”.

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