In Partnership with The British & Foreign School Society, we support a prevention programme to help children avoid risky behaviours and promote innovative social educational programmes in schools in Salvador, Brazil.
The news of ever increasing economic prosperity in Brazil masks the real truth of one of the last places to end slavery, where the legacy of division, violence and inequality lives on. Since the start of 2012 the murder rate within Salvador has doubled leading to the deployment of the armed troops to occupy the streets, indicative of the violence and unrest felt in the area. The state has also been struggling with continuous public sector strikes which have led to school closures for extended periods of time; in 2012 some schools were closed for up to a period of three months. All of these factors have led to a growing population of children and youths who are caught up in a culture of violence, crime and a life on the streets.
Prevention Work with at risk Adolescents
Our partner has been working with vulnerable children since 2005, primarily with an emphasis on young drug users rehabilitation. After a long period of witnessing the devastating impact that drugs, violence, and poverty has been making on the vulnerable youths of the area, a prevention programme was initiated which aims to keep children and youths informed and away from these harmful factors: by providing workshops on substance abuse and sexual health in local schools. The sessions are facilitated by young peer educators which the youths can more easily identify and relate to.
Promoting full-time education by reducing drop-out rates
Despite the level of violence and the number of children living on the streets, there is a complete lack of support in state schools to advise and teach children regarding these inherent dangers. As teachers are often not trained on how to deal with a student showing signs of drug use, many of these children are immediately expelled and given no further support.
In 2013, we are launching an innovative pilot project with the generous support of the British and Foreign School Society.
This project aims at addressing the systemic issues associated with absenteeism and school dropout amongst marginalised children in Salvador and significantly reduce the number of young people dropping out of schools. The project is extremely innovative in putting state schools at the heart of the programme through School Prevention Committees.
Teachers need social support systems to encourage youths to remain at school for longer periods and to ensure they understand the value of education in their lives. Often the feeling of a lack of social status and worth are key factors in youths joining the drug trade or gangs. By engaging the teachers and the larger community, the project has the potential to create a virtuous circle where the youths are willing to invest in their own education while feeling supported by their teachers and their families.
We support a music centre which reaches out to vulnerable children and youth, providing them with a safe environment in an otherwise violent area.
Chance for Childhood has been working in partnership with our Brazilian partner São Martinho, since the formation of Chance for Childhood in 1992. We initiated our work during the infamous street killings of six street children at the Candelária massacre. We have continued to support the programme, as the problems of gang violence increase. The city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the worst affected cities worldwide by intentional murders.
São Martinho has been working with the street children of Rio for over 28 years and they are experts in this area. Most recently we have partnered with them to establish a prevention programmes in the favelas (slums) of the Northern city, the origins of many of the city’s street children.
With the generous support of our patron Aninha Capaldi we established the Jim Capaldi Music centre in Vicente de Carvalho. This centre has already helped over a thousand children access educational and social support as well as providing them with the opportunity to play an instrument. For many, playing an instrument is their only escape from a violent home and community life. It teaches self-confidence and discipline. It also provides the children with a rare opportunity to share their skills with their family, directly helping to decrease rates of violence in the home.
To see the music centre for yourself, click on the following link:
Hope and Life Centre
We support a youth and children’s centre which teaches recreational and educational workshops and provides a safe space for children to escape the violence of the streets.
Santo Amaro has a reputation as one of the most violent favela communities. Living in an impoverished situation, many children have no option but to spend their spare time on the streets where they are at high risk of being targeted by drugs and trafficking gangs or getting caught up in the violence.
Bringing hope and life
The Hope and Life Centre provides a sanctuary for hundreds of vulnerable children in the favela each year. The children come to the centre before and after school, to have a hot meal and receive all round care.
While at the centre, the children can attend workshops in arts and crafts, sport, dance and music. For older children, there are also workshops available on business training and communications to help prepare them for the world of work.
We support a psychologist at the centre who helps the children deal with any issues they may be facing at home or elsewhere. She also reaches out to their mothers to support them through their struggles and provide family therapy to help the mothers have a positive influence on their children.
Breaking the stereotype
We’re really pleased that last year four young people from our programme were selected for a prestigious business training programme. They are making huge progress in their apprenticeships and are impressing their trainers by breaking the stereotype of young people from the favelas and proving that they are dedicated and hard working.