I have always liked being involved in community projects. We just finished a camera project with 26 youth here in Rocinha that I will write about in more detail later. I remember almost 1 year ago a girl came from the UK and brought these bracelets that said "ROCINHA" on them. She gave me about 150 to pass out to people here in the favela. People loved them so much that I thought of this idea to have some made up to give to people here.
Life in a favela is a challenge for many people here. I am not rich but wanted to give something small and with meaning especially to adults here. I do mostly participate in projects for kids and youth but rarely involve adults. I wanted this bracelet project to connect and be a self esteem builder for a portion of the community that many dismiss. We have many NGO' but 95% of them are for youth and children. So this idea by me was to approach adults and ask "Voce ama a Rocinha?"(Do you love Rocinha?), and if they said yes, I would give them a bracelet.
I contacted a good friend of mine Rita Michel from New York who was a big help in ordering the bracelets and bringing them here. In the United States the bracelets cost about 60 cents each. I looked around here in Brazil and companies wanted equal to 2 or 3 times that price, so Rita and I got to work. She ordered the bracelets and arrived here in Rocinha a week ago. I now have 900 bracelets to give out as I walk through the streets.
When I am not working, this is a good way to get to know people better, let them know about our work, the dj school and various projects we becoming involved in. I think I have given out about 80 so far. The bracelets are adult size so they would not really work for children. This is also a chance for people to stand up and be proud of living in this wonderful favela of Rocinha!
In February, I hope to receive more bracelets! This is going to be fun!