São Paulo is a metropolis of superlatives, a city of imposing numbers. Over eleven million people live in the megacity of São Paulo alone. Due to a large population increase, the region of Greater São Paulo, with its 38 cities, has grown into a single city complex where today more than 20 million people are living.
Some 3.3 million people live in the "Zona Leste", the East Area of the megacity which accounts for 33% of the city's population and almost 18% of Greater São Paulo.
The average Human Development Index (HDI), which measures not only the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and how it is divided, but also the longevity and level of education of the population, stands here at 0.478. This wealth index, provided by the United Nations, in comparison, shows the level in the "Zona Sul", the South Area, to be 0.927. This is equivalent to the HDI in Germany.
The active working population in the East Area stands at 1,704,858 people which represent 31% of the labor work force in São Paulo. The city is estimated to have 904,089 unemployed people. About 40% of these, i.e. 358,282, live in the East Area. Out of the number of people in regular employment in the region, 33 % work in the commercial sector and 41% in the service industry.
The work of CITIES WITHOUT HUNGER began in 2004 with the Community Gardens Project in the social focal points of the Cidade Tiradentes, São Mateus, Itaquera and São Miguel Paulista areas. The aim has been to encourage the social integration of marginal groups through gardening and to improve the nutrition of adults and children.