Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teaching people how to Fish


Agencia Redes de Juventude (Youth Networking Agency)


I remember being approached by the girl about 18 years old wearing a blue t-shirt with the word AGENCIA across the front, on the streets of my favela about 4 months ago. She told me that I should come to a meeting to promote my dj school. I had the date set to go but somehow forgot the meeting and I was upset. I later found out that Agencia Redes de Juventude (ARJ) is a city funded project with interest in helping favela communities. I was not sure how they helped as I was just told to go to the meeting and I would find out more. The ARJ fund youth who have new ideas about how to create a sustainable business in their favelas.


I forgot about this until about 1 month ago I was contacted by representatives from ARJ. They asked me if I could help one of their grant receivers with their project. I told them sure. The ARJ contact persons name was Rafaelle and she sent me emails about Joao Batista the youth recepient. Joao told me that he wanted to start his project with the idea of developing tour guides in his favela of Providencia. He found me on the internet and our website. Morro da Providencia is rich in history and is known as the first favela that exist in Rio de Janeiro. The hill was settled in 1897 by ex slaves and soldiers from the War of Canudos. So, historically Providencia could be developed, if done right into a tourist destination.


On March 27th, Dembore, my partner, and I met Rafaelle, Joao and a youth reporter who writes for the ARJ web site at the Copacabana Palace. We took the favela transport to the top of Rocinha and slowly decended talking about how we set up our tours and routes depending on tourists interests.


We eventually made it to our DJ school Spin Rocinha, where we spoke more about marketing and the business of running tours in a favela. I tried to give him as many ideas based on what I have experienced working with tourism here in Rocinha. I would like to be able to eventually help other favelas like City of God set up cultural tours in their favela. I am open and available to help those who support sustainable tourism for these communities! Its like the expression “I would rather teach the people who to fish, instead of just giving them the fish”.


Joao received 10,000 reais from ARJ to start his tourism company in Providencia . This will be needed for him to build a website, make business cards, marketing and much more. Joao’s plan is to study about the history and talk to elders about Providencia. Then he wants to find a route through the community that will be interesting for foreigners to see. He plans to train 5 guides that will work with his “company”. He has alredy picked a name “Provitour” for his company. I told him that if he ever needs help to contact me. I will keep in contact with him. I am posting fotos for you to see of our day with ARJ.


Heres a link to a article that was written about our day with ARJ in Rocinha: http://agenciarj.org/novas-visoes-das-favelas-atraves-do-turismo