Prince Harry meets recovering addicts in Sao Paulo's 'crackland'

Amid chaotic scenes the Prince toured an open-air medical centre and a street cleaning depot

Prince Harry has met recovering crack addicts in a notorious area of Sao Paulo where the authorities have begun a controversial plan to get them off drugs.

Harry learned about the initiative which provides housing, food and work for the users when he visited Cracolandia - Crackland, where crack is sold for 80p a rock.

Amid chaotic scenes the Prince toured an open-air medical centre and a street cleaning depot where the recovering addicts are employed.

Before the prince arrived the area received its regular cleaning and many of the hardcore users who have not joined the programme - described by one official as the "walking dead" - moved on and their soiled bedding was removed from the streets.

And when Harry arrived he was mobbed by many of the recovering users as he toured the area which has been a magnate for addicts for more than 20 years.

With a large police and security presence outside the street cleaning depot, the Prince walked into the building and was surrounded by the workers who took his picture with their camera phones.

He chatted to them through an interpreter asking questions about their lives and circumstances.

The drug users who agree to the programme are given a hostel bed, meals and work as street cleaners in the morning for 15 Reals (£4) a day, and enrol on courses in the afternoon.

Ricardo da Silva, 34, first began using crack when he was a young boy, and when the Prince arrived was beginning his cleaning round - the first job he has ever had.

He said: "My life was very difficult, now it's changed, I'm trying to forget the past. I started to use crack when I was eight-years-old."

"In the past I used crack 24 hours a day now its decreased, the last time I used it was on Sunday."

Mr da Silva spent four years living on the streets in Crackland funding his habit by collecting cans for recycling and doing odd jobs.

He added: "This has given me the opportunity to be someone - a person."

Diana das Neves, 25, was also beginning work during the royal visit but had specially plaited her hair - in little knots know as Coquinho, or little coconuts - for the occasion.

She said: "I spent seven years in Cracolandia and I started using crack when I was 14. I had problems at home with my family, my stepfather. I left home and started living on the streets because of the problems."

The recovering addict, who met her husband, another drug user, in Cracolandia, said: "Thank god my life has changed completely. I use much less crack then before, I can now go two to three days without using it."

She added she hopes to start a family with her partner who is also on the programme.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin