Dreaming on a new project A visit to Monte Azul in Brazil and the idea of the the Youth Empowerment Project

In March I have visited The Asscoiacao Comunitaria Monte Azul in Brazil. It was a warm day in Sao Paulo and on the way there I was observing how the social inequalities in that city are so visible. I could see huge business buildings and luxury houses surrounded by high walls and security guards. Just beside them there were kids and young people asking for money in every traffic light and slums built with improvised tenement houses that looked like as they could dismount at any tropical rain.

Finally at Monte Azul, walking up the alley to the place where I would have my meeting. I see how the favela is closed around me, I see the small houses where the clothes are drying outside, the improvised electrical solutions, a dirty stream at a corner. Suddenly,   I hear a violin playing, just in the middle of the slum, I start to see beautifully painted walls, and mosaic stairs in the middle of the chaos. “Something is different in this place” I thought. Monte Azul has been working with in that place for more than 40 years, aiming to foster human development.

I was well received by Ute Cramer and Nelson Avella, and joined their morning gathering and coffe. Later on we started talking about project possibilities and landed came to the conclusion that we would apply for a pre study for a Empowerment Youth Project (YEP) in Monte Azul. The Application was sent in the 07thof April and we hope to get it  through. Here is a summary of the project idea:
This pre-study wants to prepare for a project that addresses to young people living in the slum areas of São Paulo, specifically Jardim Sao Luiz, where the Associacao Comunitaria Monte Azul  has its base. Those young people face mostly unemployment, dysfunctional families, unsatisfactory basic public services (sanitary, health and education)  and absence of cultural programs. This poses the potential risk that they will be excluded from society and get involved with criminality. Therefore the idea of this project is that young people will enjoy their right of equality through social inclusion and their right of security through  a dissemination of peace culture. This project wants to empower young people to engage on their community in order to promote their social inclusion and to prevent them to get involved with criminality. The method is to train young leaders to manage their own projects where they are supposed to serve the community with cultural workshops inspired by their own talents (music, dance, arts). The training will also aim for the target group to raise their awareness about their rights and about peace culture. The pre study is planned in two phases: in phase one we want to better understand the needs of the target group at Monte Azul by organizing meetings with young people to brainstorm needs and ideas of what can be done, in phase two we plan for a follow-up visit from SOFIA for project planning.