In 2015, BHP´s employees around the world wanted to do their part to help the people suffering the consequences of the Fundão dam collapse at Samarco. Individual donations were collected until mid-2016, totalling USD 124.397,08 and BHP’s Samarco Advisory and Support Team (SAST) in Brazil identified the best way to ensure these donations would provide lasting benefits to the communities.
After extensive research, the SAST team selected a Brazilian non-government organization from Mariana region (where the dam failure occurred) called ACG – Associação de Cultura Gerais. ACG used the donation to develop and implement a project that benefits around 100 families in the most impacted areas and is aimed at preserving cultural heritage and developing an independent economy.
ACG develops sustainable projects that preserve heritage and culture, recover local knowledge, language and awareness, generate employment and income, and support reintegration of communities. They help people in the tourism, family agriculture and arts and culture sectors to grow their expertise and business capabilities.
In partnership with ACG, BHP focused on the sustainable development of affected communities and in rescuing and preserving their cultures. This project also helped build a better future by growing income streams in a sustainable and innovative way that reduce communities' dependence on the mining industry.
The project started in March 2017, and the families created a cooperative to formalize and strengthen their business, and the project continues to be supported by the Renova Foundation. Two artisanal initiatives which are benefitting are the embroiderers of Barra Longa, whose work has been on the fashion ramps of Sao Paulo, and the sweet-makers of Gesteira who now sell their wares in the city of Mariana.
Thank you to those who donated – your contribution is making a real difference in the lives of the people impacted by the dam collapse.