Monday, July 16, 2012

The Challenges of having a NGO


Living in Rocinha can be one of the best places to start a project/NGO. It can also be complicated.


No matter where you are in the world, people are people. Some are good, some are bad. Rocinha is like any other place where all types of People exist. We have oportunists here too. Living in a close knit comunity, people talk, so you have to learn to play the game. After O Globo showed the piece on tv about SPIN ROCINHA, we got alot of attention about the project.


As always the comunity and the residents association support any projects that can help the comunity. The Dj school has always been my dream and I know the responsibility it takes to run this project. I am hesitant to accept any kind of help from any kind of govermental organization. My project is about art through music. I dont want to be connected to anything goverment. Corruption is everywhere and if people can take advantage, they will. Our CASA DE CULTURA that received a grant from Gilberto Gil in the early 2000's is shut down. I would like to know what happened to the 700.000 reais that was given to the project by the Culture Minister. There are other stories of situations like this but this happens everywhere in Brazil, not just favela comunities.


Other countries are easier to deal with, especially those with less corruption. I am happy to say that the people who have helped my project more than anyone is the Americans. When they see a good, honest project, they want to help. I had one donation a year ago from a German man. Becase of his donation, we were able to buy a computer. This is why I take fotos and films of the kids playing. I want people to know my project is sincere and it really exists. There are many scammers out there trying to rip people off.


Lately, I have experienced some pressure from one of the Dj school students to get SPIN ROCINHA registered as a legal NGO here in Brasil. I am doing my research about this but I am taking my time to read all the pros and cons to doing this in Brasil.


The student getting pushy about things and even mentioned about talking with the comunity goverment here. I had to tell him that he needs to slow down and let me deal with this. I finally had to tell him to stop and that the project is only 11 months old. I guess he did not like what I had to say and has decided to take time away from the Dj school. He wrote me a message explaining that he wanted time to himself. His choice and I told him, ok. I started getting the feeling that this student was trying to control me and tell me what to do. Every class he would aproach me and talk about this. Finally, I had enough of him being pushy.


What I am seeing is a pattern of people trying to affiliate some way with this project for their own gain. I had this in the beginning too with another person. This project SPIN ROCINHA, is about the students, not money. The classes are for free and NO money is earned from this project. If money is received through a donation, it is spent on equipment for the school. And everybody in the school will know about it. I want to keep everything transparent and honest. This is my project for the development of the students through the art of Dj'ing. Once the word is out there, people want to be associated with you. I need to watch the people who are trying to take advantage. No matter where in the world, you need to protect whats important!


Just thought I would write what is on my mind.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Giving Thanks!

I have been away from the blog for sometime. I need to get back if even once or twice a month so keep up with demands of people who want to know more about Rocinha. Life has been very busy for me. I am now making tours about 4 to 5 times a week which is great even though it is low season here. I went to some website and read reviews about my tours. It makes e very happy that visitors have enjoyed their visit to my favela. The dj school is doing great. We have about 18 students and we are operating 6 days a week from 7-10pm..Sundays is a day of rest. I am still getting telephone calls from the report O Globo did about SPIN ROCINHA. But lack of space is a big problem here. Today I went outside walking around looking for spaces available for the future becase I know the school is going to only grow more. For now, the Dj school is in a space that used to be my bedroom. The room can comfortably hold about 7-8 people at a time. So, the way I decided to accomodate all the students is to have them chose 2 nights a week that they can come. So each class has 4-5 students. My idea is to save money to eventually buy a place here in the favela. My dream place would be a house with three floors. The first floor would be the dj school and recording studio, second floor, my living space and third floor would be space for visitors volunteering in the favela. The roof would be used to make parties and to enjoy the view. I have had people aproach me about helping but I am hesitant to take this help becase as we all know, its very rare that somebody offers money without wanting something in return. I dont like or trust politicians as here in Brazil they are only out for their own interests. I dont ever want to owe anybody anything, including favors! Its a fact here, most politicians are corrupt. I know the direction that I want to take with this dj school. I would rather it take longer and its done right than to rush things. I am not going here. Considering SPIN ROCINHA has only been around for 11 months, things are ahead of schedule. Now, back to the title of this blog post. I am very thankful for all the good things that have happened to me especially starting from 2010 to now. Work is going great and for that I am especially thankful! Without tourism, I would not have a Dj school here. For all of you who have visited Rocinha, I need to give you a BIG thank you! Becase visits have increased here, I now have been able to give one of my friends a part time job helping me. His name is Eden and he is a resident of Rocinha and has a website promoting everything that is about Rocinha. His website is: ok, gotta go now clean and set up the Dj school for classes tonight.. any questions can be directed to: