Julio Otoni

Julio Otoni is a charity in a small favela with approximately 2,000 inhabitants in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro. The area has been heavily affected over the years by the presence of criminal gangs, drugs and guns. Due to the extreme conditions of poverty and lack of occupational alternatives in the community, it is not at all unusual for children as young as twelve to become involved with the gang culture as well as dealing with other social problems such as teenage pregnancy, lack of schooling and illiteracy, lack of professional qualifications and the absence of basic social values.

In 2006, REDEH bought a house and named it the Julio Otoni Community Centre, creating partnerships with members inside and outside the community in order to provide opportunities and alternate activities for after-school children and youth who would potentially be involved in gangs and drug trafficking.

The Community Centre offers local young people alternative activities after school like Educational Support, English, Capoeira, Computing and Environmental Education, especially in the school holidays, a time when they would otherwise spend all their free time on the streets.

The centre is run by two amazing ladies called Eliana and Karina who recycle paper and turns it into restaurant place-mats and other products in order to generate an income and volunteers from all over the world.

The outside world sees favelas as a place where people are lazy, criminals, thieves who don’t pay electricity, water, land or taxes. Yes, it is true that this type of people live there as well but there are so many people who work really hard to provide for their families too. Favelas were born when the government promised jobs and housing to soldiers who were once slaves, in return for fighting in the war of Canudos (1893-1897) in Bahia. When the war was over, many migrated to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo hoping to find jobs and affordable housing but when the soldiers asked the government for help, the government gave them the cold shoulder and told them to build their house in the hills so the people did just that and favelas were born.

I had the honour of helping the Julio Otoni Center for just over three months on several projects and treasure many beautiful memories of them like the photography exhibition we have organised which showed their own photo shots, the summer activities and painting the centre inside out with the help of the kids like Hugo, Indiara and Pablo.

If you wish to know more about Julio Otoni, want to join them as a volunteer or make a donation you can either purchase the charity ebook "Over the Rainbow" by Lela De Silva or click here: http://juliootoni.wordpress.com/sobre-o-projeito/about/

My time with Julio Otoni


Julio Otoni
Contact Tamara

Email: juliootoniproject@gmail.com

Designed by IDcreate | © 2012 LELA DE SILVA TRUST Follow us on: e-mail facebook twitter you tube