Back in November I visited Fight For Peace in London, and now in Rio I was privileged enough to also visit the original project Luta Pela Paz! Thanks to Gabriela for organising this and for showing me around (plus see my updated Ola Rio post for news of our great Rio bike ride!).
It’s located in Complexo da Maré, one of the biggest group of favelas in the city. Encompassing 800,000m2, Maré is divided into 17 favela communities and is home to 132,000 residents (CEASM, 2011) – over half of which are children, adolescents and young people. Notable for high levels of poverty, social and economic exclusion and by a scarcity of public services, Maré suffers from a lack of options as well as from the situations of violence, crime and drugs that residents still regularly face. Three different drug factions have dominated the area over a long period of time, exposing the young people to almost daily confrontations between themselves and the police.
It was within this climate of young people being exposed so often to violence that Luta Pela Paz began its work in 2000 – founded by Englishman Luke Dowdney – looking to offer more possibilities through its activities as well as making sure that young people from all over Maré had access to these opportunities.