Project #1543

Job Training and Internships for Favela Youth

by Dreams Can Be Foundation
Alan Davi, 21 years old
Alan Davi, 21 years old

This update was translated by staff and volunteers of Dreams Can Be Foundation August, 2008

1543 Job Training and Internships for Favela Youth – Crescer e Viver Dear Partners, CRESCER E VIVER thanks all the people that have believed in us and continue believing and have helped us to arrive where we are today. The project SCHOOL OF SOCIAL CIRCUS continues taking care of the 200 children, adolescents and youth that live in situations of risk and social vulnerability. This year it was possible to characterize our actions through investments in educative materials and new partnerships, as well as the contribution of volunteers and financial donations. We hope to continue counting on your help! In this project, the kids participate in playful, artistic and cultural activities that contribute to their educational and childhood development. More than 14 circus modalities are offered among other artistic languages. Our more advanced youth are now acting as monitors and beginning to teach the youther kids what they have learned. Moreover, those that more develop their abilities and circus techniques act as youth artists in the shows made by CRESCER E VIVER. Djferson Mendes, 22 years old, was a car washer and was out of the school. Today, he is one of the most distinguished youth in our Institution for his commitment, devotion and talent in making and teaching circus. He has also returned to his studies, and he became a great artist and example for the other boys and girls of the project. Alan Davi, 21 years old, participates in the project since the beginning, seven years ago, today he acts as an educator and artist for CRESCER E VIVER. His income has increased and his capacity to establish new bonds has increased significantly and teaching the beginners has made it possible to establish an economic security and has added to his capacity to work in this field. The social change means steps toward the economic question. Offering activities that contribute to the educative development of children and youth, in determined moment needs to create alternative measures for economic inclusion of the youth. In this direction, we saw that the best way is to focus on their abilities in educative and artistic activities, to act as artists and educators; these being a mechanism of work and income generation. Vinicius Daumas (Program Coordinator) CRESCER E VIVER decided to bet on the artistic potential of the youth served, investing in the production of a circus show that could give visibility to the youth and generate work and income. In the last year the show Vida da Artista ‘Life of Artist’ was a landmark for CRESCER E VIVER in that it proved the concrete possibility for change and the capacity of generating a cultural product of quality. Now, in 2008, we are undertaking a new spectacle that will fortify the idea of creating a Circus Company for the youth served by CRESCER E VIVER. These youth, beyond acting as the protagonists of this Company will form the board of educators who will act in the project. For us, partnership does not come only through donations. It is a fact that your financial contribution has been a significant collaboration with our project, however, we believe that your involvement and the follow up of our actions on behalf of our partners can bring many more benefits. We ask that you continue believing in action such as ours. Follow us, ask questions, if you have any doubts ask us, come visit us, therefore we are sure that simple gestures can generate great results for people in need.


Young Chlidren Who Attend the Project
Young Chlidren Who Attend the Project

PROJECT UPDATE: CRESCER E VIVER | RIO DE JANEIRO Over the past few months, Crescer e Viver has been extremely active with a great deal of success in a wide range of activities. They are not only getting the recognition they deserve, they are also beginning to expand their reach and provide a model for others to follow.


This year has seen increased community involvement in the beginners' workshops, which have an attendance of 122 children, teenagers and young people. Many of the new pupils enrolled have become involved with the production of 'The Artist’s Life'; older students are being trained as monitors and the involvement of families is increasingly encouraged.


Crescer e Viver is regularly approached by local organisations or members of the community and is asked to create and put on small productions for occasional presentations and exhibitions.

As a result they have created a group of 19 young people, who together make up the Troupe, which focuses on this kind of activity. This also gives those who wish to pursue circus arts as a career the chance to experience production at a professional level.

Young people work together with project leaders, having a say in every aspect of the production providing them with a good knowledge of the wider experience of producing a performance. Value is placed on the performance itself and the importance of presenting their work to their communities. In turn this acts to provides young people with a very tangible sense of achievement, helping to build their confidence and self-esteem.


'Vida de Artista' ('The Artist’s Life') is a play produced and performed by the students at Crescer e Viver. This year's production – sponsored by Petrobrás (government-owned Brazilian oil company) – has gained widespread praise. Sixteen teenagers from the Improvers Troupe have been at the centre of the work, which has its own dedicated artistic production and direction teams.

A six-month production period saw dedication and intensive work from everyone involved. The play premiered on 23rd August and is showing at the Big Top of Crescer e Viver, in Praça Onze, until the end of October. Crescer anticipates that more than 5,000 people will come to see the show in Rio alone. This success has inspired plans to tour across Brazil in 2008.

Young people are involved in all aspects of the production, providing them with skills they will need as professionals to develop their own projects and activities. This program in particular is being developed so that its success may be replicated across Brazil.


Since 2006, Crescer e Viver and SESC (Serviço Social do Comércio – 'Social Service for Commerce') have developed a partnership which sees Crescer extending the number of children with whom it is working in Rio. SESC is a privately-run, non-profit organization, which has branches across Brazil. Its aims to enhance Brazil's social welfare through the promotion of its cultural and artistic development.

In 2006, Crescer worked with SESC in Tijuca, in the northern part of Rio. From September this year, they expanded their work to two further areas, reaching a total of 150 children.

This part of Crescer's program also supports the development of a group of young educators, trained to work with younger children, and providing them with the stepping stones they need to be able to work permanently in the arts.


The 'educators' and 'young educators' work together to decide the themes for development and discuss the importance of the processes used within the project. They also decide how to make their work relevant to the realities which the children and young people face in their day-to-day lives.

Everyone recognizes that they are in a process of constant development themselves, and that they must strive continuously to improve their skills and relevance to the children they are working with.

There has been particular success in the training of young people, with 10 currently employed as interns either at Crescer itself, or at other arts organisations.


Crescer was recently short-listed as a finalist from 350 organisations nominated for the Prêmio Cultura Nota 10 competition. The winner was announced on 5th November, to mark Brazil’s National Day of Culture- ( Crescer e Viver was already named as one of the 500 Points of Culture by Brazil’s Minister of Culture in 2005).


Many of the children in the project experience difficult situations in their home lives. Violence, drugs and alcohol abuse are common aspects of daily living. Along with this problems associated with poverty, unemployment and broken families are also prevalent in many of their situations.

Crescer has prided itself on being able to provide advice and social support to participants' families, a valuable part of their work since it means that individual children's wider needs are addressed.

Even though Crescer has not had specific support for this aspect of their work, they felt it important enough to piece together what they could to establish a team of social support workers who could provide advice and social support to children's families.

Unfortunately, Crescer has recently found it difficult to maintain the team, and was – reluctantly – forced to stop this part of their work. The project has maintained informal contact with the families, and is able to get emergency help to them in urgent cases.

Nevertheless, because the project is unable to support the team on a permanent basis, this undermines just how much progress can be made with children from extremely difficult backgrounds. As a result Crescer is now looking for specific funding for this part of their work.

Showing Off Their Skills
Showing Off Their Skills
Youth on Unicycle with Mural at the Project
Youth on Unicycle with Mural at the Project


Recent Developments

Crescer e Viver (“Grow and Live”) as the organization is known, is increasing its number of beneficiaries by developing new activities in its Centers of Sociocultural Activities in Rio de Janeiro and São Gonçalo. One new project, “Street Art and Culture” offers workshops in Capoeira, Street basketball, and graffiti (the artistic form of which is legal in Rio). The “Center of Information and Community Knowledge (SINCO)” is another project with 10 computers with broadband internet. Crescer e Viver is increasing the number of direct and indirect beneficiaries with this new projects in addition to maintaining its existing beneficiaries through already established programs.

Carequinha Prize – National Recognition

In November 2006, the Little Tiger Circus School, one of Crescer e Viver’s most successful projects, received the prestigious Carequinha Prize for activities in the Circus field, from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. Every year, the Ministry of Culture, through the National Foundation for the Arts (Funarte), awards the Carequinha Prize in several categories of circus arts in order to support circuses and circus troupes in various regions of the country. Crescer e Viver was the only institution in Rio de Janeiro to receive a prize in the Educational category, which is directed towards activities such as circus schools, social circus projects, and those projects that work with the circus arts as a way of strengthening educational dialogue and encouraging participation in citizenship. The recognition from the Ministry of Culture brought national attention to the methodological and pedagogical purpose of the social circus project, and transformed the project into a reference for attending to children and adolescents in low-income communities through art-education.

Future Plans

This year, Crescer e Viver is going to produce the circus performance “The Life of an Artist – The Art of Constructing a Performance,” a project approved by the Federal Law of Cultural Incentives which receives support from many Brazilian partners such as the national energy company (Petrobrás), Support and Services for Small Businesses (SEBRAE), and a non-profit insurance company (Capemi). Over the course of 5 months, 20 youths from Crescer e Viver with advanced circus skills will dedicate themselves to perfecting their abilities and learning the secrets to performing through theater, dance, and music classes. This preparation will result in a beautiful and emotional performance through which they will share with the audience the difficulties and beauties of the profession and mission to which they have dedicated themselves: being artists. “The Life of an Artist” will be directed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists in acrobatics, balance artists, jugglers, dance, theater, voice and percussion instructors, set, lighting and costume designers, producers and the young artists who will participate in the entire process from the very beginning. We count on the support of professional artists with vast experience in their fields and with an experience in community service. This way, they are capable of doing their jobs while maintaining high levels of ethical values. Alice Viveiros de Castro is the General Director of the show.

Previous Donations

The money previously received from Global Giving was used for the art-education workshops developed by the institution. The quantity was used to both pay salaries of our educators in Social Circus, and to pay for their special training with our institutional methodology – always aiming to maximize the well-being of our beneficiaries.


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Organization Information

Dreams Can Be Foundation

Location: Johnstown, PA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Christine Clauser
Director of Development - Dreams Can Be Foundation
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil

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