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To cut costs, a family lives in an informal occupation in Brazil | Inequality


What’s your money worth? A series from the front line of the cost-of-living crisis, where people who have been hit hard share their monthly expenses.

Name: Mariele da Silva*

Age: 42

Occupation: Part-time domestic worker

Lives with: Husband Luís (44), twin sons Cosme and Damião (16) – both of whom have special needs – and daughters Manuela (14) and Letícia (13)*

Lives in: Ocupação Vitória, a spontaneous informal settlement of families on the outskirts of Diamantina, a town of around 45,000 inhabitants in the countryside of Brazil. Apart from the bathroom, made of brickwork and topped with two water tanks, the family’s three-bedroom shack with a small living room and a kitchen is made entirely of wooden planks.

Monthly household income: Because of his physical disabilities, Cosme receives a monthly benefit from the government, equal to the minimum wage of 1,302 Brazilian reais ($258) per month  – the only regular income in the household. While the family fights for Damião’s right to the same benefit on account of his cognitive impairment, Mariele works four days a week as a part-time domestic worker, making 500 reais ($99) per month, less than half the legal minimum wage. Luís is a mason helper, whenever he can find work. The family’s average monthly income is 2,000 reais ($397), putting them in the very low-income bracket, according to the Institute of Applied Economic Research.

Total expenses for the month: Around 2,200 reais ($437)

*All family members’ names are pseudonyms, to maintain their privacy.



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