Why our work becomes more urgent than ever for Rômulo and his friends
The results of the recent presidential elections have caused concern for many in Brazil, as well as for its observers worldwide. Although it is still too early to tell exactly what effect they are going to have on the country over the coming years, it is our belief that they are likely to make our work more urgent than ever.
What we are most worried about is the threat of increased violence. We explore the reasons for this concern in detail on our blog, if you would like to know more.
Unfortunately, violence is already a problem that impacts our work and the development of the children. A week before the second round of elections, for example, the military police entered the favela. The firing of their guns was met by cheers from supporters of the president-elect, who had gathered in a parade close by. One drug trafficker was killed and two other members of the community were hit by stray bullets.
Over the following days, gunfire continued to be exchanged. An electricity generator was shot, causing the favela to lose power. As a result, both EduMais and its partner organization, Solar Meninos de Luz, had to close down our operations for safety reasons.
This is a very common story across the city. There have only been eleven days this year when all schools in Rio have been able to open. Almost every day, violence disrupts education. EduMais's children have lost not only days, but weeks of education over the course of this year.
As well as the traumatic experiences of gun battles near their homes, these kids are therefore falling even further behind in their educational development. If our fears about an increase in violence are realised, then this situation may only get worse.
These young people deserve better. Education is essential to eventually break the cycle of violence. Our educational programs are designed to give the kids the tools to be able to dream of a better future. Rather than being dragged into the drug trade, we want them to have the skills to express their talents.
You can help us to do this by supporting our summer camps. The summer holidays in Brazil are long, making it more likely for young people to get into trouble on the streets. On the 9th of December, several members of our volunteer team and even one student will be taking part in the Rio half marathon. By donating to their fundraiser, you will provide a safe, educational space for the children and help us to get the new year, and the new political era, off to a positive start.