Feb 2, 2021

Art & Community Mobilization Report: Oct-Jan 2021

Young leaders distributing emergency kits
Young leaders distributing emergency kits

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

Happy New Year – here’s hoping that 2021 is full of health and wellbeing for all!

Since our last report, we have dedicated our efforts to completing and publicizing the documentary series we told you about last time. Thanks to your generous donations, as the schools remain closed, we have also focused on social action for the most vulnerable members of our community, who have been particularly hard hit by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. We are so proud of how hard Viva a Vida’s young leaders have worked to support others!

The documentary series “ASCENDENDO IDEIAS”, or “LIFTING UP IDEAS”, provides a critical analysis of how Brazil’s drug policy has been constructed and its ramifications for the black population, particularly for young people.

It will be launched in 2021 and includes 13 episodes that touch on topics ranging from anthropology to the justice system and discuss the moral concept of drugs, religion, racism, stigma and class, decriminalization and legislation, the media, drug dealing and trafficking, genocide, crime, the police, child labor and harm reduction.

Before the official launch, we have posted the first nine episodes on our social media, and more than one thousand, six hundred people have accessed it!

With your support and with funding from the Global Fund for Children, we will be able to disseminate learning from the documentary to six schools, training teachers and other employees on the theme of Drug Policy. Through film sessions and debates, approximately 100 adults will participate in this training, as well as 100 high school students.

Your work is so good. We’re going to start internal training and finding out about your work is fundamental to this,” said Luana Malheiros, anthropologist and founder member of the Collective Balance Harm Reduction.

“I really liked the teaching from Arts-Educator Marcos Paulo. Wars against Drugs are racial, selective and directly affect the black population”, said Antônio Ferreira, from the State Forum for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and the Protection of Adolescent Workers in Bahia (FETIPA).

“Congratulations to Associação Viva a Vida. Excellent work. We recommend that everyone watches this and that the material be used to train families and young people,” said Baja Ubirajara– President of Camaçari’s Municipal Council for the Rights of the Child and Adolescent


The Drop of Love (Pingo de Amor) Project, located in Vila de Abrantes, organized an activity to donate toys to the Cordoaria Quilombo Traditional Community, and Viva a Vida took advantage of this opportunity to donate 100 kits of hand sanitizer, sanitary pads, paper tissues and masks, collected and distributed by our young leaders, in partnership with the NGOs Aldeias SOS and PLAN International


We started the year reorganizing our local presence. Due to the pandemic, since March 2020, we have been unable to undertake direct activities, and have been providing services remotely. For this reason, and because of restricted funding, we have decided to close our administrative center and work remotely for the time being.

Documentary Series tackling Drug Policy
Documentary Series tackling Drug Policy
Emergency kits in the Cordoaria Quilombo
Emergency kits in the Cordoaria Quilombo
Community action with Marcos Paulo
Community action with Marcos Paulo
Oct 7, 2020

Art & Community Mobilization Report: June-Oct 2020

Young people finish distributing emergency aid
Young people finish distributing emergency aid

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

We hope you all are managing to stay well, safe and sane during these strange times. Thank to your generosity, we are happy to say that, despite everything, we’ve had a very productive quarter, making the most of the new online ‘normal’ by partnering with local and national organizations to broadcast live streaming events and working closely with the local college to ensure students continue to benefit from our services. As you will see, we’ve continued our work using arts to debate human rights and combat child labor, strengthened our work in menstruation support for girls and young women, and successfully completed our online mental health project. An emergency grant from GlobalGiving also enabled us to adapt quickly to the pandemic crisis, setting up various projects in which young Viva a Vida beneficiaries distributed emergency aid (including their own masks and poetry, and produce grown by local family farmers) to some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community.

Just a heads up that we will be launching our Giving Tuesday campaign at the end of November, look out for posts on Facebook and Instagram and e-mail reminders. We know it is more difficult for some people to donate right now, but you can help by reposting our news, telling your friends and family and getting the word out!


Viva a Vida has gone back to its roots and, with some fantastic material, filmed a (so far unnamed) documentary about Drug Policy in Brazil. This is a critical assessment of the policy and its consequences for the black population, particularly young people.

The film will be launched this year and has allowed us to work with some incredible and renowned partners, both individuals and institutions:

  • Trícia Calmon, Coordinator of the Run to a Hug Program from the State of Bahia Department of Justice;
  • Dudu Ribeiro, Historian and Coordinator of the Black Initiative for a New Drugs Policy;
  • Roca Alencar, Professor at the Federal University of Bahia’s Department of Anthropology and Ethnology;
  • Henrique Oliveira, Historian, member of the Bahia Public Security Forum, Alma Preta Journalism and Smoke Buddies.

The script was written by Viva a Vida Coordinator Évelin Salles, with presentations from young poet Thiago and narration and artistic work by Social Scientist and Youth Worker Marcos Paulo. Editing and Production by OKAN Produções.

The documentary has 12 episodes, addresses topics ranging from anthropology to the justice system and talks about the moral concept of drugs, religion, racism, stigma and class, decriminalization and legalization, the media, drug trafficking, genocide, crime, policing, child labor and harm reduction.

Despite the specialized team, the documentary is aimed at the democratization of information. The material will be used for work with young people – in schools, on the streets, etc. The discussions are therefore intercut with poetry, data, accessible language and – one of Viva a Vida’s characteristics - lots of creativity. Unmissable!

During the documentary, Roca Almeida poses the question: “And you say to yourself, these substances were used normally throughout history, so why, at a certain point, did they begin to be proscribed, controlled, prohibited?”

Dudu Ribeiro reminds us who suffers from the current policy: "We have to see that people come before drugs. The war against drugs is against people”.

Watch this space for the link to the finished film!

Find out more about the activities we’ve been able to run thanks to your support:

HUMAN RIGHTS, RACISM AND YOUTH CLASSES: As planned, we continued this work with five videos classes broadcast with support from the local college - 250 young people participated in online classes and 970 young people watched videos on our social networks. The work focuses on debates about racial identity, comparisons between the USA and Brazil, Wakanda, the war on drugs and Arts Education as an instrument for political education.

LET’S DRAW! One product of the classes run by our young assistant Davi was a live streaming event with the artist Oliver Dórea, to talk about the role of art during lockdown. More than 100 people watched the event, it was a great success!

PARTNERS - We have also participated in live streaming events in partnership with fellow NGO Onda Solidaria (Wave of Solidarity) which works in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro and with the Residents Association of Arembepe (a local town). Youth Worker, Marcos Paulo spoke at these events about the importance of art and literature in the political education of young people.


  • We ran a large campaign with events and videos. Sixty people participated in the live streaming events to Combat Child Labor – which included participation from Plan International Project Manager Sara Oliveira.
  • We also launched the video Child Labor and its invisibilities, which contained information about the more subtle forms of exploitation, such as domestic work – this was accessed 124 times.

I DISCOVER MYSELF IN YOU”: Over the last three months we have run this fantastic intervention project for adolescents and young people. The project supported 16 families through online meetings about self-care in times of pandemic. Two psychologists monitored their mental health needs and helped to minimize the effects of the current crisis. Hear what some of the participants have to say about the project:

"It was different from all the other experiences I’ve had - I became aware that my choices are my responsibility and thanks to this I have become what I am now.” Young male participant.

“It motivated me, I think I’m able to think about and organize things better, [I know] how to be responsible, both with myself and with others.” Young male participant.

To close the project, we hosted a large round table debate on the theme of mental health and adolescence, watched by approximately 150 people, many from the municipal health and social care systems, some watched live and some accessed the recording via YouTube. You can watch the debate, which is in Portuguese, at:


BLACK JULY – We are always happy to honor the great black women who are members of Viva a Vida’s beneficiary group, so in July we launched our Black July communication campaign in support of International Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean Women's Day. 370 people participated; you can see some of the posts here:


30 YEARS OF BRAZIL’S CHILD AND ADOLESCENT STATUTE: in July we commemorated the anniversary of this highly significant statute and invited young poet Jonas Gabriel to a discussion called: Child and Adolescent it’s all the same – which provided a racial overview of this theme. The idea was to debate racial issues within the Statue. Eighty people participated in the debate.

MENSTRUATION CAMPAIGN: Plan International and a brand that sells menstrual pads, joined up with Viva a Vida to talk about and distribute educational material and menstrual pads to 600 women in our community. It is so important to talk about this naturally and spontaneously.

PAINTING MASKS & POETRY BOOKLETS: The artists from the #VivaJuntosSustentabilidade (#LivingTogetherSustainabilty) group painted more than 400 masks to distribute in the community, as a way of providing protection and distributing love. They also put together a poetry booklet for distribution with basic food baskets and hygiene kits.

CORDOARIA QUILOMBO TRADITIONAL COMMUNITY: Close to our office is this amazing Quilombo Traditional Community. Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve been in touch with its residents and making efforts to support the lives of those who live there. Over this period we distributed 50 kits (containing non-perishable food, as well as vegetables and greens produced by family farmers, hygiene kits including hand sanitizer, soap and masks) to female heads of households, street market traders and beiju crepe makers.

EMERGENCY AID: In response to the emergency needs in the community, we established partnerships with the company BRASKEM and the NGO Aldeias SOS to provide basic and emergency needs to 175 families. We distributed 100 staple food baskets with the support of the local Child Protection Officers and 75 food vouchers (worth BRL 100.00) for direct beneficiaries, families from the community and women from the Cordoaria Community.

Filming the documentary about Drug Policy
Filming the documentary about Drug Policy
Young beneficiary receives a food voucher
Young beneficiary receives a food voucher
Receiving emergency aid in the quilombo
Receiving emergency aid in the quilombo
Another interview for the drug policy documentary
Another interview for the drug policy documentary
Distributing emergency aid to the community
Distributing emergency aid to the community
Jun 10, 2020

Art & Community Mobilization Report: Mar- June 20

Priscila wearing one of her a hand-painted masks
Priscila wearing one of her a hand-painted masks

Dear Viva a Vida Friends and Supporters,

First of all we hope you are all well and coping, as much as possible, with the global pandemic. Strange times indeed.   As you can imagine, a lot has changed since we last sent out our report, and we’d like to thank you once again for your incredible generosity over this difficult period. We understand that it may be more difficult for some of you to donate right now, but please remember good wishes and kind words are just as welcome!

The world has been taken by surprise, and we’ve all had to reinvent ourselves. Looking back over the last three months, we think our biggest success story has been how we’ve adapted to the pandemic and the new social isolation regime.

Like so many other civil society organizations Viva a Vida’s principal capital is… human. It is with and for humans that we are fighting and engaged in social justice. Normally we work in classrooms, communities, coalitions, with people, always with young people, on the street, involving a great deal of personal contact.

We entered social isolation on 18 March and spent that month thinking about how to re-organize our activities. Our current action plans were scheduled to run up to November 2020, so we gathered our forces and began to think about adapting them to digital content.

Youth workers, young people, the coordination team, consultants and our board all entered into dialogue to consider new strategies. We would like to highlight the strength of our beneficiaries and young assistants, who really began to think about new ways to access the community.

Since these meetings, we’ve been able to implement a series of activities that have gone very well. Viva a Vida has produced virtual content and continued to take Information, Reflection, Learning and Joy to Vila de Abrantes and is now reaching the more young people than ever across the whole state of Bahia!

HUMAN RIGHTS, RACISM AND YOUTH CLASSES: In May, June and July we will offer a sequence of six video classes and six live streaming events to debate these topics. In our first two classes, 359 people watched video classes through our Instagram account and 150 people participated in live debates with Youth Worker Marcos, focusing, among other issues on the antiracist movement and reminding young participants that their BLACK LIVES MATTER!

“I was so impressed with the quality of your content”,

Simone Alves, Educational Coordinator, State College of Vila de Abrantes

FRIDAY POETRY: Fridays have now got added color! 100 people have watched two poetry videos produced by young poets Thiago and Jessé and our Youth Worker Marcos – Brilliant!

“Fantastic! So good! Congratulations to him (Jessé) and to Viva a Vida”

Antonio, President of the State Forum to Eradicate Child Labor – FETIBA, Bahia 

LET’S DRAW! Young Assistant Marcio Davi, supported by young assistant Miqueias, is running live streamed drawing classes! Every Tuesday, new techniques are taught to 80 pupils. Classes will continue until July. Wonderful!

“I was really insecure, but I like doing the live streaming classes (online drawing classes), once again I’m getting over things in myself,”

Marcio Davi, Young Assistant on the #LivingTogetherSustainability project

We have established very important partnerships with PLAN International through a partnership agreement for activities in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to see if we can sign a partnership agreement for the activities we are running collectively”

Sara Mabel, Technical Assistant of PLAN International, Brazil

We have been invited by the Child Protection Office to participate in debates, talking about our work and Human Rights.

“Viva a Vida has always been a great partner. Thank you for being with us during this campaign”

Edilene – Child Protection Office, Camaçari Coast Office

We have managed to strengthen the Vila de Abrantes network through the “Abrantes can count on us” group which we set up, to bring the Camaçari social care network together in activities to support the community (see more below on theCampaign to Combat Sexual Exploitation and Abuse against Children and Adolescents).

We have also joined the local Atados volunteer network from which we have found 10 volunteers to support our communication activities. The idea is to construct a marketing plan and improve our digital media content.

We are living through difficult times of isolation and sadness, and have requested and been approved for emergency aid from Global Fund for Children to address these issues. On 12 June we start the project “I discover myself in you: a caring intervention” in which 2 psychologists will set up self-care groups for our beneficiaries. The project is aimed at supporting young people’s mental health at this time, when they cannot fully access their usual emotional support tools, such as school and projects.

We know these are difficult days. But we are learning, above all, that there are young people, families and communities who cannot get by without our services and this has motivated us to produce and study, to produce again, to renew our energies and move forward.

The strength of our young people, their smiles, comments on social networks, audio messages, the setting up of a network, the visibility that our activities have gained, have all helped us to HAVE HOPE!

Thanks to your generous support, another essential activity that Viva a Vida has been involved in, is the CAMPAIGN TO COMBAT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS – with the strap line: we take this subject seriously.

Through the “Abrantes can count on us” network, set up and coordinated by Viva a Vida, we have participated in a large campaign with some significant partners. Eight public and private institutions have carried out the following activities:

320 people participated in live streaming talks about Sexual Violence: the abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents, in partnership with Plan International, the local Specialized Reference Centre for Social Assistance and the local Program to Eradicate Child Labor;

2,000 facemasks distributed in two extremely vulnerable communities with the highest incidence of COVID-19; Viva a Vida’s young artist Priscila painted the campaign symbol on 100 masks;

“I put in a lot of love, so that everyone who gets one can feel good using it!” Priscila – Young Assistant on hand painting facemasks, one by one

A ‘sound system car’ drove around the community providing information about means of prevention and where to report violations related to sexual exploitation and abuse;

1,000 informative folders were donated to the local Child Projection Office containing information about means of prevention and where to report violations related to sexual exploitation and abuse;

Many thanks once again for your incredible support, enabling this important campaign to take place!

Final note – as we have nearly reached our GlobalGiving fundraising target, over the next few days, you will see that we have raised it to U$ 20,000.00 on the understanding that we will continue supporting at-risk youth at least for the rest of 2020 and hopefully into the years to come.


Community member receiving a mask donated by VAV
Community member receiving a mask donated by VAV
Jesse reciting his poetry
Jesse reciting his poetry
Thiago reciting his poetry
Thiago reciting his poetry
Distributing masks and info in the community
Distributing masks and info in the community
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