Viva a Vida works in Vila de Abrantes (NE Brazil) to empower young people living in a community afflicted by drug-trafficking, drug-abuse, and violence. This project seeks to build resilience and safeguard against community-based violence by engaging young people. Our experience shows that involvement in peaceful community mobilization has a positive impact on young people's self-esteem. As such, Viva a Vida uses art and human rights education to encourage engagement with social issues.
Approximately 1 in every 100 young people in Vila de Abrantes will be killed before their 19th birthday. They experience high levels of violence, police harassment, poor schooling and unemployment. Largely ignored by the authorities, without leadership or leisure opportunities, young people are extremely vulnerable to a range of abuse, which may lead to high risk situations and dangerous behavior. Our challenge is to create a safe and trusting environment to address these vulnerabilities.
The project will use arts-education to debate human rights and community mobilization. The young people will visit community groups; record film & take photographs; interview key adults; communicate with other youngsters via social networks; visit key services; and compile a history & map of the neighborhood. The project will stimulate young people's creativity and raise their self-esteem. Together we will construct a community network engaged in social issues and promoting positive change.
60 young people will develop increased resilience and self-esteem. Building trust, project activities will provide a safe environment within this violent community. This will allow young people to develop health and well-being, limiting involvement in high risk situations. Positive lasting outcomes will occur through the community network mobilized as a result of the project. This will be a sustainable space for young people's voices and the development of advocacy for peaceable change.