Julio Otoni is a low income community with approximately 2,000 inhabitants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that, like many other favelas, has been heavily affected by criminal gangs, drugs and gun violence. Due to the extreme conditions of poverty and lack of occupational alternatives in the community, it is common for young children to become involved in gang culture. The cycle of poverty is further perpetuated through instances of teen pregnancy, lack of schooling and illiteracy, and lack of professional qualifications and other resources.
The Julio Otoni Project is a result of the collaboration of several NGOs, including REDEH, CEMINA, Instito Polen and the Jinga Project, in order to address many of these issues affecting youth and children in Julio Otoni, as well as to create a self-sustaining center to support the community.
Through the collaboration of these organizations, a community center was established in the middle of the favela, and has become a hub for community activities. With about 50 attendees per day in a community of 2,000, a huge success of the community center has been the after-school program. In order to keep children and youth busy and off the streets after school and during holidays, the center offers capoeira classes three times per week, as well as tutoring, English classes, computing, and environmental education.
Group: REDEH (Network for Human Development ), CEMINA (Communication, Education and Information on Gender), Instituto Polen and the Jinga Project