Since it was established in 2008, Emmaus Vila Velha has benefitted from financial support from neighbouring community, Amor e Justiça, and the wide experience of its founder, Airton Barreto.

The 41 Emmaus Vila Velha companions carry out 40 collections per day, which supply the community's second-hand shop with goods to sell. The goods collected are refurbished in the community's workshops: IT, woodwork and electronics.

Since 2014, the group has also been providing educational support to 60 children. The emphasis is on reading, writing, and learning about the environment and about food. As for other areas of activity, the group employs a nurse, who provides basic healthcare to women, the elderly, local children and the companions themselves. Finally, Emmaus Vila Velha raises awareness of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), works with the local authorities on human rights issues and offers training and legal assistance to those most in need.