Saturday, May 23, 2015

Helping businesses in the favela grow

Working in community based tourism has been very rewarding in many aspects. I enjoy helping to facilitate special projects. When people from outside the favela offer to help, it's greatly appreciated by the locals.

I met Ramon Marmolejos through a friend. Ramon runs a company called emzingo which helps businesses run more efficiently. He contacted me about wanting to help businesses owner in the favela.

For many who live in favelas, very few opportunities are available for advanced education. Many in developed countries have access to seminars or where business owners can learn how to improve their businesses.

Ramon's proposal was to bring in students from universities who are studying for their MBA's to help projects in the favela. Here is a example of what they do for NGO's and developing areas worldwide. Read more here .

This is also another explanation from Ramon of their ideas: "We are looking to bring MBA students on an impact learning trek, an 8 day immersion program to give them exposure to the social innovation sector in Brazil. As part of the program, we also work with social enterprises to develop a strategic problem that the MBAs can assist with. We would use a design thinking approach, with the user at the center, to create innovative solutions for the organization."

Ramon contacted me about him bringing a group of 10 students to the favela in search of projects that need help. I was able to find two that stood out and these projects agreed to meet at a set point to take part in a two hour workshop.

What we offered these students was a full day from 10-5pm inside the favela seeing the community and participating in some activities. 

I met the group in Ipanema and we arrived at the top of Rocinha. The first activity was the one hour Percussion class where two guys from Pragradar Rocinha Samba Drumming group taught the students the finer points of drumming with various drums used by samba practitioners.

After the drumming class, we split into two groups of 5 people each. I took one group and Jody took the other group and we made a tour of the favela explaining our community for the students. As we arrived closer to the bottom of Rocinha we stopped for a Capoeira demonstration by ACORDA CAPOEIRA a local group that serves over 300 members in the favela. They put on a demonstration for about 30 minutes for the group.

After the Capoeira we continued the tour for another 15 minutes then decided to stop for a hearty lunch. We like to take our guests to a place where we know they will enjoy the food. Trapia Social is a por kilo (by weight) place with lots of selection of various fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry and meats.

After Lunch we made our way up the favela for the Workshop for the business owners and for another project callled "Oficina do Sucesso", which teaches young people how to get into the business world. The workshop was held in Barbara's new cafe called Garagem das Letras. 

It was a full day of fun and community interaction. I hope that we can continue to do work like this where everybody benefits for the experience. Thank Ramon for helping Rocinha to have access to your services and the help of your students!