2006 was a year of great development for Circo Baixada with respect to intervention in the lives of children, adolescents, families, and the surrounding community of Baixada Fluminense of 3.9 million inhabitants. The program has partnered with the Juvenile Justice System of the municipality to provide social education through community service for adolescents who have broken the law. The program has also worked on preventative action by establishing a presence in the surrounding community, providing a base of support for children, adolescents, and families, and serving as a forum for community mobilization. Circo Baixada has made significant contributions to the Baixada Children’s Network, an inter-municipal network that promotes the rights of children and adolescents made up of 10 community organizations. The network was borne of a local conference entitled “Weaving the net of social protection for the children and adolescents of Baixada Fluminense.”
This year’s major performance was entitled “Popular Culture Invades Circo Baixada” and was the culmination of great efforts on the part of all the 80 participants, children, and their families. In preparation for the performance, the students went on a field trip to the Museum of Popular Culture. The childrens’ performance featured historical stories, comedy routines, clowns, jugglers, trapeze artists, and performers of all the circus arts. Nearly 400 audience members attended the show in Nova Iguaçu in September 2006.
Over the course of 2006, 366 children and adolescents participated in the Circo Baixada project. Seventy percent of these young people had a good attendance rate. 132 children were able to leave the program, 72% of which had their links to their families and communities strengthened and their participation in the formal education system renewed. At present, 58 more children are in the process of successfully leaving the program.
During the past year, numerous delegations from surrounding municipalities have visited the Circo Baixada project in order to establish connections in hopes of future collaboration for similar projects in their home communities. The increased local interest in the project shows a heightened awareness of the situation of at-risk street children, and State bodies are beginning to take notice as well. Circo Baixada has also entered into regional networks related to children’s welfare in the area and social circus activities.
Circo Baixada has been featured in 35 newspaper, internet, magazine and radio pieces in 2006. The project has been recognized 5 times on television, twice by TV Globo, the largest network in Brazil. The following links have text and video footage (in Portuguese) about the project from TV Globo:
March 27, 2006
July 3, 2006
Circo Baixada remains one of the most visible support systems for at-risk youth in Baixada Fluminense. The fact that 49% of street children in the city of Rio de Janeiro come from Baixada Fluminense shows the necessity of preventative projects like Circo Baixada. The project raises awareness about a problem that is otherwise unaddressed by the state and the community. Circo Baixada fights for the rights of adolescents by providing an alternative to life in the street – the existence of the project keeps the problems of these children in the spotlight for the local governments to see and hopefully react.
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Director of Development - Dreams Can Be Foundation