Brazil’s social entrepreneurs are making the most of safer favela conditions

Friday, July 12, 2013

Working in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro

In Brazil, one in five people live in a favela (a poor urban community). Some favelas still lack basic amenities and poverty and crime is rife, but many in Rio have been improved by the government’s pacification process.

This process has seen the military enter the communities, forcibly and often violently removing criminal gangs and drug syndicates. While this heavy-handed approach has been criticised, it has also brought about safer communities and more opportunities for social entrepreneurs to work with the communities inside the favelas.

Fight for Peace

Fight for Peace has been working in the favelas since 2000, before the pacification process began. Founder Luke Dowdney has been helping young people in the Maré favela to realise their full potential for more than a decade. His boxing and martial arts academy has grown from helping 10 disadvantaged young people in its first year, to training and educating more than 2,500 every year.

Although it started with boxing, over time it has expanded to help children in other ways. Now it runs a range of classes, giving the young people an education and a sense of purpose.

The brand became so strong in the favela that people started stealing Fight For Peace T-shirts from washing lines, because they want to be associated with it.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

social enterprise