I had the amazing opportunity to visit a São Paulo favela through an organization called Aoka which provides businessmen, tourists, and students with the opportunity to meet people living in impoverished neighborhoods. The focus of the visit to Brasilândia, the favela, located in the northwest of SP, was to expose us to different organizations and social enterprise community initiatives related to sustainability.
Introducing the most inspirational leaders I’ve met so far in Brazil:
These are Brasilianas; a group of women artisans who recycle disposed objects to create bags and other types of art and accessories. This group of women is supported by several Brazilian companies to promote economic development accompanied by environmental preservation. They really do have magic hands in turning bags of chips and candy wrapers into beautiful (and completely usable) handbags for different occasions.
This is Celia, she is part of the group Café Solidario Doces Talentos. She, along other women, offer coffee break service for events. Supported by Projeto Mulheres and Fundacao Stickel, what makes this initiative unique is the use of natural, organic and healthy ingredients. It also provides an opportunity for economic development to these women who are leaders of their households. Celia is incredibly passionate about what she does and she expresses it in the way she smiles while presenting her creations and passing them around for people to try them.
And… I know that I specified that the purpose of this blog was to feature inspiring Brazilian women that I encountered, but after going to that favela and meeting so many influential leaders, it would be unfair to leave one of them aside only for genders’ sake, so:
This is Quintino Viana, founder of one of the most important organizations in the favela whose purpose is to preserve and clean green areas in the community: Ousadia Popular. He has gotten lots of Brasilândia inhabitants involved in his projects that include cleaning ecological parks, planting sustainable gardens, learning how to effectively use water in the neighborhood as well as other resources. “Seu Quintino,” as people popularly call him, is a perfect example of patience, and perseverance: It was amazing and moving to see how proud he was of what he’s built in the past 14 years. He showed us the main location of his organization and the amazing view of the city he’s surrounded by.