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Brazil Rio panorama seascape

A Day Away From Favela Life


For a number of years we’ve been supporting a wonderful non-profit organisation in Rio de Janeiro, Casa de Santa Ana. Based in Rio’s Cidade de Deus favela, made famous in the 2002 film ‘City of God’ (which you should really watch if you haven’t already, it’s brilliant!), this community centre opens its doors to both young and old, and provides respite from the daily grind of life in the favela. They run a range of activities, from percussion to gymnastics, which anyone of any age can join. You can find out a little more about the project, and why we’ve chosen to support it here.
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Trip for a trip

A while back our friends over at Responsible Travel came up with a lovely idea called ‘Trip for a Trip’, whereby they would offer funding and guidance in organising day trips for disadvantaged children in various countries across the world. The idea is to give them the chance to do something fun and touristy, and to give them a rare chance to see why we, as tourists, all want to go to their country so much. It’s a lovely concept, right? Well, we thought so too, so we decided to get involved, and Casa de Santa Ana seemed like the perfect choice.

Children from the favela on a local boat Brazil
Local boat day trip out of the favelas Brazil

A boat trip around Guanabara Bay

With lots of help from our awesome local partners, we put some options forward to the kids who use the centre, and they decided amongst themselves that they would love to take a boat trip around Rio’s beautiful Guanabara Bay. Most of the kids rarely leave the favela, let alone go on boat trips, so this was a first for them and they were understandably excited. Rodrigo, who runs Casa de Santa Ana, suggested inviting some of the elderly people who use the centre, and a few of them were keen to join the trip as well!

So, on the 25th November 2017, a group of 15 kids, 4 elderly people and 4 adult volunteers set off by bus from the favela to the jetty at Marina da Glória, and hopped on board for a memorable cruise around the bay. Let’s not go into too much detail about the cruise itself, but it’s safe to say they enjoyed it!

What it means to the kids

Rodrigo did some mini-interviews for us after the trip, and some of the comments are truly heart-warming to read, see for yourself;

“This is the very first very first boat trip in my life. I’ve enjoyed pretty much seeing the airplanes take-off and land so close to me! I’ve never imagined that an airplane could be so big, I’ve always seen them so small high up in the sky. I also enjoyed the sea and the boat was very pretty”

– Rebeca, 8

“It’s my first time on a boat trip. I love to get to know new places – the Museu do Amanhã, Christ the Redeemer in a distance, and I got impressed by the bridge.”

– Kathellen, 11

“First time for me on a boat, where I come from there’s no leisure at all,there’s nothing to do and I get bored. I liked the landscapes, and it’s a very cool boat.”

– Leonardo, 17

“I used to work on the passenger boats that goes from Rio to Niterói. So Iknow pretty well this scenery and it’s good to be back, it’s so much fun.”

– Antonio, 79

“It’s nice to get out of the favela sometimes, and to see the airport so close!”

– Pedro, 18

“It’s my first time on a boat. It’s so nice to get to see different things – the big boats, the airplanes landing, the Museum of Tomorrow and the bridge.”

– Isabela, 10

“Just to be on a boat for the very first time! To see this huge bridge, the museum of tomorrow, being surrounded by water and all the sights.”

– Isabelly, 8

“I’ve never done a boat trip before, it’s very cool to see different places.”

– Kamila, 8

“A very long time ago, I took the passenger boat from Rio to Niterói. It’s lovely to be on a tour – great to interact with the children and helps me a lot to relieve the stress.”

– Laura, 82

Favela kids on the boat looking at Rio Brazil