Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In the city of Rio, close to 1.5 million people – around 23-24% of the population – live in favelas (shanty-towns), and there are over 1,000 of them ranging from newer or more challenged communities with slum-like conditions, to highly-functioning, vibrant neighborhoods determined to maintain their qualities and continue developing in their own extraordinary ways. All favela dwellers live in informal conditions; 95% of favela homes are built of brick and concrete, residents put decades-worth of income and physical labor into the construction and 30% of them are not connected to a formal sanitation system.
The people who live in favelas are known as moradores da favela (“inhabitants of favela”). During the past several decades favelas were controlled by drug traffickers, and as a result, residents of favelas are often discriminated against for living in these communities and often experience inequality and exploitation. This stigma that is associated with people living in favelas lead to difficulty finding jobs opportunities, and youth often find themselves involved in criminal activities due to this lack of opportunity. In recent years, favela culture has gained popularity in tourism industry, which is starting to offer a major source of socio-economic development opportunities for local people.
With support of Planeterra and G Adventures, Favela Experience has developed a new social enterprise tour in Vidigal, benefitting five micro-enterprise and community organizations. Planeterra donated funds for the construction, facilities and equipment for the microenterprises, which represent a much-needed boost the community. Training has also been conducted by our partners, Favela Experience, with each of the five micro-enterprises, to formalize their businesses and get them ready to be part of the tourism industry.
G Adventures will bring travellers to experience the community by meeting local people and participating in different activities such as a capoeira (Brazilian martial art) session, visiting an innovative community green space, trying new Vidigal artisanal beer and purchase unique handicrafts, all supporting women, men and youth of this community.
The primary positive social impacts of this collaboration will be increased revenue flow into the community, promotion of local businesses and projects, and the breakdown of stereotypes that severely limit the favela from being included in the greater Rio tourism industry. Investments into local infrastructure will provide the local partners with the necessary tools and resources to improve the overall quality of their projects, develop sustainable new revenue streams and receive tourists in a professional manner, ultimately increasing their social, economic and environmental impact while generating additional jobs and positive visibility for the community.