Project #1810

Prevent Youth Involvement in Drug Trafficking

by CEMINA (Com., Edu. and Info. and Adaptation)
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
Photography Volunteer and Child from Julio Otoni
Photography Volunteer and Child from Julio Otoni

CEMINA has been developing programs that foster the empowerment of underserved communities in Brazil for over 20 years.  I had the great privilege of visiting the Julio Otoni Community Center located in the favela of the same name in Rio de Janeiro (  

The Center is busy preparing for the launch of a photography exposition this Sunday called "Peeps from Within" designed to give favela children a voice through film and photography. Viewers of the exhibition can gain a glimpse into the childrens' lives through their own eyes.  

CEMINA worked very hard to obtain over 20 cameras from the UK that are now being utilized by the kids to take photos of everyday life in the community.  According to Thais Corral, General Coordinator of the project, the exhibition adheres to the ideals of the center, "to create a home for people."  Through teaching photography, film, dance and music, the Center's volunteers create the conditions for children to express themselves in new and creative ways, and in doing so gain confidence and self-respect.  Many of the volunteers are professional artists in their respective areas.

If you would like to give money to support CEMINA's amazing work in Julio Otoni in providing low-income children with alternative activities out of school hours to prevent their involvement with drugs and gangs, click

Volunteers and Photographers in Training
Volunteers and Photographers in Training


Children with their cameras...
Children with their cameras...

Since March, "doing all digital" kicked off at the focus of this semester at Julio Otoni. The focus is on doing activities that can be expressed  Digitally… th anks to some very creative volunteers (Frances and Tamara), the kids have started photography classes, producing their own videos on current and social issues and even writing, producing and acting in their own short “novela” (Brazilian Soap Opera) style videos. As you can imagine, the kids are absolutely LOVING it! There have been some logistical and technical issues to overcome (only having a few working cameras and no working computers being the main ones) but everyone has pulled  together and thanks to some amazing camera donations things are now well underway.

So, aside from being great fun, is there a  reason why workshops like these are important to the kids? Frances Ridley from Banded ( , one of the volunteers, tell us what Digital Depiction and Peeps from Within is all about and why it’s important…

“‘Digital Depiction’ is a series of workshops that aim to teach children from poor communities in Rio de Janeiro techniques in digital photography, film making and ways in which they can show, through imagery, a true, realistic representation of their community to an outside audience, who often have many negative preconceived ideas. Throughout a twelve week programme the children will be introduced to different techniques essentials in photography and be familiarised to other photographers and artists and well as creative and political thinkers for inspiration. They will be encouraged to use techniques learnt and experiment with their photography to produce interesting, exciting images that capture their lives and communities. Each week will be based on a different photographic technique and will encompass different themes such as environment, women, family etc.

We believe that these set of new activities will prepare children to be much more active in their communities too!!!

We welcome donations to maintain the basic costs of the project.


Mural Brigada Neotropica at Julio Otoni
Mural Brigada Neotropica at Julio Otoni

January and February is the Summer Season in Brazil.  The 50  children which benefited from the Julio Otoni project are on holidays from school.  For that reason the leading team of the project prepare a great summer camp twice a year when children are on holidays.  This is a very special moment in which we are able to take children on learning journeys for the whole day. 

During this season the activities started on Christmas. We did a great party with  presentations by the children, music,food, gifts and other very joyful activities and started to announce the activities of the Summer Camp 2011.

During January and February the Summer camp took place and children went to the beach and had other special activities such as a great Mural of Street Art the was painted by the Volunteer Chilean Groups known as Brigada negotropica. They painted the wall of the playground where the children play.  The theme of that was painted in the Mural was discussed with the children and they have chosen these animals.

In 2011 the perspective is to maintain the 50 children and to increase the mobilization of supporters especially through the tourists that visit Rio de Janeiro and that now are more likely to come to Favelas due to the great movement of curbing the violence in the favelas through the pacifying police.



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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
$49,866 raised of $60,000 goal
623 donations
$10,134 to go
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