Monday, September 1, 2014

Explanation of what we do!

Many people have emailed me asking information about the work we do here in Rocinha. I thought it best to write a full explanation so everybody has a better understand of our involvement in the community of Rocinha. We believe that tourism CAN benefit communities if done the right way with involvement of residents and projects.

I am going to explain the 6 parts of FAVELA ADVENTURES. We are not just a tourism company. The idea is to use tourism here as a way to benefit the people here. The more people we can involve with out work, the better for everybody. Its obvious that we can not help everybody but if everyone does a little to help out, then great for everyone.

1.) Tours of our Community- This is the base of how everything else operates. Without the tours, the other 5 parts would not exist. The tours of Rocinha are the only income from our work. Our visits are walking through the community explaining how life operates here. How are we different many ask. All our guides reside in Rocinha. All of the projects we support are inside the favela. Our tours are longer than most starting with 4 hour visits. We feel that the only way you can really understand a place is to be here for a while. Our tours are supported by the community because of the other volunteer work we do here.



2.) Dj School Spin Rocinha- Started in August of 2011 is our social project. We teach residents from 16-58 years old who reside in Rocinha. Currently we have about 12 students and operate the classes 6 days a week, from 7-9:30pm Monday-Saturday. We have a professional studio with the top of the line DJ equipment. For those wanting a career in DJ'ing we can refer them for jobs when they are ready. Spin Rocinha is a comprehensive program and students are provided instruction in the art of Dj'ing for free! We welcome Dj's from all over the world to come and visit our school to see or to give a workshop. Check out some of our previous posts of visitors we have had here to our school. We are developing the next generation of Dj's!

2.A.) Refugio e Fortaleza- is a creche or Daycare that we have partnered with to help them with supplies and other things they may need. About a year ago I found out about this Creche that was in need. I stopped by and spoke to Luciana the woman who operates the creche. After seeing the place where she cares for the children (about 30 kids), I knew it was a right fit. Our purpose is to link volunteers or people who have specific donations to offer the day care. For example, in August we had some university students who are studying early childhood education come to visit the creche as a private tour. They stayed and interacted with the children for about 2 hours. During this time, the university students bought needed supplies that the creche needed. Luciana has been trying to save money so she can improve her home. So the donations help her so she can save money.

3.) Volunteers- We also receive many inquiries from foreigners wanting to help the favela by offering to volunteer. We are not a business for this. We can refer you to several different projects who have told us that they are open to volunteers. Basic spoken portuguese certainly helps the experience for the visitor. If you are interested in helping out here please send us some information about yourself, why you want to volunteer and what projects you have interest in. we are connected to about 20 different projects, anything from Sports, Art or Music related activities. It helps if you have a Facebook page because we can then refer you to the page of the project that you are interested in. You can look over their page and see if the project interests you. We do not believe volunteers should need to pay for volunteering, so please do your research on this. Many of these pay to volunteer companies are scams that don't contribute or contribute very little to the communities. We give you the referral to the project and you do the rest. The projects that we work with do not expect foreigners to pay money to volunteer. What I do recommend though is if you are going to volunteer at an art school, that you bring some art materials as a "donation" to the project. This way the materials directly are beneficial to the project. We do not recommend giving money to any projects as this sets up the project expecting or only depending on outside help.

4.) Donations- This is a fairly new project that we have started. About 4 years ago I was receiving emails from visitors asking how they could help out with donations. When I first started doing the tours in 2008, I would give art supplies to Tio Lino's Art School here in Rocinha. Once I started the Dj School, my focus changed on directing our money to be spent on Dj equipment which is very expensive. As this was happening for us, I noticed that Tio Lino was getting help with sponsorship and even had a building built for his art school. So our money focused on building our Dj School. But still people would ask about donating things. So, I had this idea of finding projects inside the favela that really needed help and who were not receiving anything from anybody. Without letting too many know of my idea, I would find projects that needed help and then began to focus donations to be for specific projects. For example we help a Art Project called Espaco das Artes by giving them specifically art supplies and any materials they request that they need for their art projects. Many of the donations come from the help individuals who find out about Pack for a Purpose, a non profit that encourages travellers to bring donations to projects in developing countries. We have had huge success and with that we can help so many more projects in need.

5.) Housing- Many times after tours are given, people ask us about volunteering but they want to stay inside the community. We can help them find a place to stay. We have access to residents who have separate apartments to rent or home stays with a family. The idea is to have people from outside of Brazil get to know and understand favela life. The place you stay will cost a fraction of the cost of a place outside of Rocinha. Obi runs a guesthouse at the top of the favela called Rocinha Guest House. Most of our visitors like to stay there.

6.) We can facilitate individual projects here. In the past we have helped people from outside of Brazil who are involved in many different projects. They contacted me wanting to make interesting projects with the locals. In June of 2015 we plan to help facilitate some Basketball Clinics that will be run by Nate, a former visitor who runs a project in Philadelphia called "Books before Ball". These clinics are important to the development of youth, where the focus is on combining Education with Basketball.

Daniel Hoffman from the USA, brought disposable cameras to the favela and distributed them to children and adults to document their lives. When he receives the cameras back from the residents, he is going to make a blog and put the fotos and profiles of the people who took part in this project. See the post here about this:

Beccy McCray from England came and stayed in Rocinha and we referred her to two art projects that wanted to take part in her art project. read more here:

Ethan and Jade King from the USA, made a big impression on our football fans with their kind contribution. read more here:

These are just some of the projects we have facilitated here in our favela and we are always open to making more great things happen here. If you have an idea of a project you would like to do, contact me and we can make it happen!

These are the 6 parts to what we do here. This is why our website url is ".org". We want tourism to benefit and help as many people in our comunity!  Thank you to all of the tourists that have visited with us over the last 9 years. We are slowly building to our objective to by a building here to house art and music projects.

But for now, the work we are doing is very rewarding! Always thankful!

For more information contact Zezinho at: