Life has not become any easier over the past few years for residents of Brazilan favelas. Civic life across Brazil has been turbulent and perplexing, Pacification has exacerbated fragmentation and infighting among drug gangs, and many of the already insufficient government programs have faded into practical obscurity.
But the important (essential even) and exhausting work of advocating on behalf of favela communities continues on. Below is a brief line-up of organizations and people doing good work. Take a minute. Become familiar, and please, contribute in any way you’re able.
First on our list: Museu de Favela. Located in South Rio’s Cantagalo, MUF’s claim to fame is being the first and only museum of it’s kind. I haven’t visited, though it’ll be on the top of my list for the next time I’m in Rio, I can imagine that a museum of this type could be a veritable rabbit hole hole of experiences, stories, and artifacts. And with all the niche museums in this world, this is one that stands to tell rich stories, provide a compelling visitor experience. MUF, may you bloom and grow forever.
It’s, frankly difficult to tell how active this organization is from the website, but I hope it goes like gangbusters. Favela E Isso Ai serves a similar purpose of groups such as Favela Tem Memoria, and even Museu de Favela above: keeping track of informal communities so that they become more connected with the rest often geographic city and civic culture.
Many a non-profit and civic organization have served the purpose of providing a physical activities like sports and dancing to kids living in disadvantaged neighborhoods–but perhaps none could start with more organic and potent ingredients than Brazilian street culture and soccer. The idea is to take the potential offered by soccer’s minimal infrastructure and maximum activity to use street soccer as an avenue for civic organization, self confidence, sharing, and leadership.
Record keeping and community organization are in perpetual short supply in most favelas, Recife, Pernambuco’s Favela News aims to empower youth to use the tools of digital journalism to tell favela storiesfirsthand.
Shine a Light does similar work to FavelaNews and similar organizations, but seems to be using outreach tools to their maximum potential to dig in and do the gritty work of advocacy online, in print, and in the streets.
In someways–energy and resource consumption, for example–a favela could be considered much more “green” than many formally planned cities. However, lack of viable, enjoyable, enriching, sustainable greenspace is a hallmark of informal development all over the world. Especially with the increasing evidence that engagement with the natural world is essential to mental and physical health, an organization like Favela+Verde/Green My Favela will 1) never be unimportant or outmoded, and 2) certainly have it’s work cut out for it for generations to come.
Rocinha remains one of the World’s most high-profile favelas and with any luck this, the first-ever favela-centric film festival will become a fixture telling the stories of favelas, advocating for favela life, and promoting the work favela artists.
CUFA- O Centro Unico Da Favela, is an all-around advocacy group promoting issues important to favela communities, with powerhouse founders like MV Bill and Negga Gizza, it’s no wonder they’re got their hand in everything from economics to art.
Many Favelissues readers may be familiar with Catalytic Communities and Rio on Watch. However they are an essentially important work–they beat even the most resource-heavy NGOs in spreading the word of injustices related to the World Cup and Olympics, and they need our help now to continue their work through the Olympics of 2016. They’ve established a Go Fund it Site for anyone interested in helping out.
If you’d like to promote a person or group doing important work, please share in the comments!