Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Brazil: Surfing Away from Favelas

Some members of the FSC at their Cantagalo headquarters
The Favela Surf Club aims to make a real difference to its members' lives
 In Rio de Janeiro, some young favela residents are using their skills as surfers to not only earn money but to help other children growing up in the favelas have a sense of purpose and accomplishment - and hope. Living in shantytowns rife with drugs and crime, the Favela Surf Club provides children with boards and lessons for free, offering an alternative to the violence they see everyday. Living far from Rio's beaches in hillside slums, kids practice their surfing on skateboards. Competitions also give them a sense of pride.

Some instructors also grew up in the favelas, like Jefferson Cardoso da Silva who joined the Favela Surf Club as a child. Now 21 years old and a college student, Jefferson earns money by giving tourists surfing lessons saying "Bad things were going on in the favela so I would come down to the beach and go surfing instead." Many of his friends are dead or in prison. He feels good about helping other kids "ride the wave of hope." I admire their entrepreneurial spirit: home grown sustainable aid to the poor!
To read the full article from BBC News, "Rio Surf Club Gives Hope to Shantytown Children," click here.

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