Complexo do Alemao was once viewed as one of Brazil’s most dangerous favelas. Like most marginalized shantytowns, Alemao was home to gang activity, violence, and drug trafficking, amongst other things. However, the result of Rio’s pacification efforts for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics have changed things for the better, at least for the time being. Inside the community there is a community center that provides a safe space for youth and adults to gather and access programs specifically geared around empowerment groups, sports, resources for job placement and vocational training, and youth-led activities such as artistic performances and neighborhood cleanup. Apart from donations, there are limited opportunities for the community center to generate funding for the operational costs of the facility and its programs.
This project will include transforming an empty storage space atop the community center into a fully functional, independent two-bedroom apartment with running water, working toilet, and electricity. Once rented, the revenue generated from the apartment will help offset the community center’s operational costs.
By providing solar lights to these students, we hope to empower them and give them the opportunity to work to further their education and rise out of the gloomy circumstances most of the other community members know all too well.In less than one week the community worked alongside The Invictus Initiative team to successfully transform the space. 50% of the material costs were covered by the community center. Once completed, the new apartment quickly rented and began generating the equivalent of $300 USD per month, offsetting the community center’s operational costs.