In recent years, it has become harder and harder to associate the word favela—Brazil’s exclusive expression for slums—to positive news. Especially if we are talking about Rio de Janeiro, where the communities flourished with tourism during the World Cup and Olympics, yet subsequently tumbled into an economic and security crisis. Therefore, when we mention favelas, the first thing to come to mind is usually poverty or violence.
At The Brazilian Report we frequently highlight the positive experiences in Brazil’s favelas, where 12.3 million people live across the country and, against all odds, surprising and bold projects usually take place. In Rio de Janeiro, at Favela da Babilônia, a 3,800-person large community that sits behind Copacabana’s less famous neighbor Leme, a school aims to return from the end-of-term holidays at full capacity, by seizing the sunlight that shines on the hill all year.