Fotos For Favelas began in July 2011 while I was a volunteer with the organization UMPMRS (União de Mulheres Pró-Melhoramento da Roupa Suja) in Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro.  Favela is the Portuguese word for shantytown in Brazil. I went to teach English for one month, however when I got there and met the spirited children that were my students and I saw the amazing opportunities for photography in Rocinha, I decided also to teach a photography class.

Eleven children participated in the classes in which basic photographic techniques were taught. All of the children also had individual time slots where they were given the opportunity to take photos around their neighborhood using a Nikon D-60 SLR digital camera. At the end of the month I held a photo exhibit for the children featuring the best photos they had taken. The children were very excited to see their work presented and proud of what they had accomplished.

The photos are unique because they depict a favela through the eyes of those who live there. It does not focus on the poverty, violence or politics that are often portrayed by the media. Instead, it focuses on beautiful images created by the children and their interpretation of the place that is their home.

I was impressed with the quality and creativity of their photos and decided to continue the project from the United States as a fundraising opportunity for their community. I am now selling the children’s photos to raise funds for the organization UMPMRS. With the money UMPMRS will be able to make improvements in the children’s after school and day care programs. The children who participated in the project will gain further confidence in their ability to change their lives and the lives of others through their hard work and creativity.

Individual photos can be purchased by emailing info@fotosforfavelas.org. A complete collection of the photos with introduction and biographies of the children is available in book format at http://www.blurb.com/user/store/laislacher

Please get to know more about the community of Rocinha, the children, and UMPMRS through this website and then purchase a photo or a book to help support the children. 100% of proceeds from the photos will go directly to the NGO in Rio.

Thank you for your support!