The economic consequences of the pandemic have been felt worldwide, but in the case of Brazil just like other third world countries, it has been hitting hardest in marginalized communities such as favelas. The nature of the favela itself makes it very difficult to maintain a healthy social distance, adding the fact that its inhabitants cannot stop working and receiving a salary to feed their families.
To respond to the crisis, our Community Center has become a Market Basket hub where we receive donations, buy and prepare basic food and hygene baskets and distribute them to families in the community. Our close relationship with the community has helped us greatly in organizing and meeting as best we can the needs of the favela.
We are very grateful for our donors' support and kindly ask that you continue to help us if it is whithin your possibilities, so we can overcome this crisis together!
We just wrapped up our summer camp activities in the Center, which included English lessons and games with the help of our international volunteers. Now that carnaval has passed, we are back in the regular school calendar rythm, and are tutoring in after-school programs.
This month we ran a measles vaccination campaign in the community center in partnership with the health secretariat of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro. The community center is not only a place for children to get tutoring and come together to play, but also an important focal point of community welfare. Vaccination campaigns and other health-related events are often part of our activities.
A big thank you to our donors who help us provide a safe space in the Julio Otoni favela - stay tuned for more stories of our community center!
In November, we made a very special visit to our sister project Sinal do Vale. SINAL is an agroecological campus oustide Rio de Janeiro where several solutions of sustainability are prototyped.
Specialized in creating learning journeys for children and adults, the SINAL team prepared a special day for the children of the Julio Otoni Community Center, where we did a hike in the Atlantic Rainforest, learned about its biodiversity from a biologist, and did a healthy desserts workshop with their resident eco-chef!
The children had a chance to cool off in the pool, which was one of the highlights of the day. We also played treasure hunt in the organic garden and meditated in the bamboo forest. It was a fun day full of different experiences related to reconnecting to nature and discovering oneself.
Thank you to our donors who help us create unique experiences for the children of our community!
Every year around mid-june to mid-august in Brazil is arraial season – a period of festivities that celebrate Brazilian northeastern culture. Originally, the inhabitants of the country side would begin ceremonies for the upcoming planting season, praying for rain and a good harvest year with bonfires, music, games and typical dishes made of corn from that year’s harvest.
Today, no whether you live in the countryside or the cities, arraial celebrations are hosted in schools, churches and neighborhoods across the country. Our community center was no exception and like every year, we gathered at Julio Otoni to host our very own arraial.
We hung up traditional decorations, played quadrilha traditional music, had typical snacks and played games all afternoon! Check out some highlights of the Julio Otoni Arraial – a sincere thank you to our donors who help us keep our Community Center vibrant with the right dose of education and fun!
We are celebrating our fifteenth anniversary! In 2004, Thais Corral decided to buy a house in the favela neighboring her apartment. Last week during her visit, we told stories of how it all began. She and the team which has been working at Julio Otoni nearly from the beginning remembered the house from back then. “That was a lot of work”, she laughs. The house was dark, there were few windows to let light inside and no electricity. Even the neighbours were skeptical that this house could ever be renovated and thought no kids would frequent the community centre. But a volunteer believed in the idea, got more volunteers to come to Rio and together they renovated the house. They opened it up to let more light in, cleaned it and painted it. Now, fifteen years later the centre is hosting its second generation of children. And some of the children from the first generation came back as tutors. Like the sixteen-year-old Guilhereme. He started coming to Julio Otoni when he was five years old, playing and learning English, Arts and Sciences. Now his English is excellent and he comes to the community centre to teach English to the up to 50 kids who come to play and learn at Julio Otoni daily. Thais is convinced the secret to the Center’s continuity is the involvement of its alumni “It is about generation after generation. Through this continuity we hope to keep hundreds of kids off of the streets.” Hear about what the kids are up to in the upcoming months in our next report!
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