With a storyline that is sometimes comic, sometimes emotional, Jéssica Paula tells stories about the victims of conflict she encountered during her trip to East Africa.
Physically disabled, she chronicles the challenges of reaching some of the most remote places that literary journalism has ever known.
She has been in refugee camps in Ethiopia. In Sudan, under 52 degrees of temperature, she was even expelled from a state in which the presence of foreigners is prohibited due to intense separatist conflicts in the region.
In South Sudan, she met former child soldiers. She lived without basic sanitation or electricity and had to adapt her physical conditions to the structure of the place.
The work also tells the stories lived by people kidnapped by the Joseph Kony militia, one of the 10 most wanted men in the world.
At the end of the trip, in Uganda, Jessica contracted malaria. But she came back safe and sound to tell the rest of the world that they are there.
On the flight home, I got a pencil and notebook, bought in Uganda, and started sketching. I remembered the dreams of the people I met on that trip. Then, my sketch came to life.
We Are Here was born. Not only as a book, but it has also become a social project that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship, income generation and access to basic rights for people in extreme poverty.
Thus, the project crossed the boundaries of bound paper sheets and became a virtual library of life stories.
We believe that sharing stories transforms realities. And that, through the production of content, it is possible to remove people from invisibility. As long as there are people silenced, we will work so that they have a voice and can shout "We are here".
We don't know if we can change the world. But this is how we start: telling about it.
Born in Rio Verde, in the interior of Goiás, Jéssica Paula is a journalist from the University of Brasília. He studied special reporting, documentary production and international politics at the Carlos III University of Madrid.
She traveled alone in 34 countries. It portrayed the culture of indigenous communities in the Brazilian countryside, recorded the reality of women who work in conditions similar to slavery in Ceará, documented the lives of Romanian gypsies on the outskirts of Madrid. Through the Aids News Agency, he started to follow the arrival of Venezuelan immigrants to the state of Roraima and write about the daily lives of people living with HIV/aids around the world.
In addition to working as a journalist and founder of We Are Here, she gives lectures and consultancies on diversity in universities, schools and companies.