Project #1810

Prevent Youth Involvement in Drug Trafficking

by CEMINA (Com., Edu. and Info. and Adaptation)
Christmas Party!
Christmas Party!

Rain poured throughout the city, creating ankle deep streams in the hilly streets and pathways of Rio’s favelas. School has just been dismissed for the summer, and the city is buzzing with pre-holiday shopping, traffic, and yes, stress. It would seem dark, wet, and dismal, but there is light shining from the Julio Otoni Community Center as 40 children gather for their end of the year Holiday Party. Beyond the food and Christmas gifts that the center is providing, the children are also very excited to perform five songs they have been practicing for months in their after school program.

Thanks to two dedicated volunteers and musicians, Vania Borges from Brazil and Natalia Mercado from Argentina, the children at the Julio Otoni Community Center have had voice and percussion classes once a week to look forward to in addition to their homework help, snacks, and art activities before and after school.

The Community Center is a vital space to the children in this community. There are no nearby parks or spaces for them to play. The Community Center provides a safe, welcoming, and enriching environment for these at risk youth.

Your contributions will keep this vibrant space alive! Whether a one-time donation, or an on-going sponsorship of a child, your donation will make an impact on these youth’s lives. From Rio de Janeiro, we thank you!

Voice and Percussion Class
Voice and Percussion Class
Performance at Christmas Party
Performance at Christmas Party

A mosaic was created with recycled materials that were collected by the children in the community. It took the children 3 weeks to collect the material needed to build the mosaic. The mosaic was designed by the Chilean/Mexican plastic artist Jose Maria "Kotik" Villela. The idea of the mural was based on Capoeira. The construction of the mosaic took two weeks with the help of volunteers and the children who worked hard to create the art at the entrance wall of the community center. The children learn about the possibilities of reusing items, increasing the ecological awareness of both the residents and children of the community with the wonderful idea creating art through recycling. 

The children hard at work
The children hard at work

At Julio Otoni´s Community Center the children are still learning new things and developing their skills.

 In art classes the children have created their own stories and scenarios by using models made of clay, each group of children were able to conjure up their own own world and share their stories with their companions. These stories included a football game, a pond with ducklings and a couple, a seabed,  a forest, a desert, a beach and these were just a few of the imaginative scenes.

During a painting class the children learned how to mix and make different colors by just using primary colours and as a result found a universe of new colours they could us within their beautiful designs.

Also in music lessons, they were busy learning rhythms and musical notes, they even made their own drums using bottles and cans and enjoyed playing these new percussion instruments with their hands and feet!

Creative scenes
Creative scenes
Music lesson
Music lesson
big table to celebrate the conclusion of the year
big table to celebrate the conclusion of the year

The summer is an opportunity to join hands with the community of the favela, the neighbors of the street and  some volunteers for new activities. This year the season has started with the preparation for the Christmas party, which also means the conclusion the year. For some the older ones this means that they will engage in other activities.  This year the preparation for the Christmas party was quite especial. Children planned the party, prepared many of the presents that were offered to the parents, to the tutors and to their friends. Photos show how happy they felt at the occasion. 2011 was an year of good results for the project. Among other things there was the Vagalumes exhibition that was the result of a three month course on photography and video.

In 2012, there are new plans for increasing activities that bring the children outside the favela, so they can appreciate what the wonderful city of Rio offers in terms of museums, music and other activities free of charge. 

Enjoying the gifts received
Enjoying the gifts received
Celebrating Christmas
Celebrating Christmas
Performing for the audience at the party
Performing for the audience at the party
We are our heroes
We are our heroes

The exhibition Vagalumes brought to Rio de Janeiro´s attention the talents of young children of Favela Julio Otoni.  During three months volunteers coordinated by Frances Ridley trained the children to have a look into their community through the lens of a camera. Pips from Within, how Frances called it. Several of the children involved demonstrated to have talent for photography. They loved it.  One of them  Heverton did a number of outstanding photos.

(, which can be described as

        'One of the classes was to take photos from different angles, for example taking a photo from high-up looking down; this meant that there were lots of             pictures   of feet. They give a good representation of the Carioca life…. flip flops. ' and
        'These are the main stairs that cut through the community. This view is from half way up looking toward the top of the stairs where the Community Centre is.'
In total, 39 portraits were made and 30 Vagalumes ( fireflyes) represented.
The launch of the exibition was very live. Many people of the community, parents and friends of the children attended. More can be seen and read at Julio Otoni´s blog

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Organization Information

CEMINA (Com., Edu. and Info. and Adaptation)

Location: Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Thais Corral
General Coordinator
Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
$45,839 raised of $60,000 goal
572 donations
$14,161 to go
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Gift Cards

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