By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The NGO RioSolidario celebrated the ten year anniversary of its children’s education space in Complexo da Maré, having served over 2,000 families in this period from the Vila do João favela community.
Set up in conjunction with the LOTERJ (The State Lottery of Rio de Janeiro) RioSolidario is an NGO that is currently providing an educational space for around two hundred children, from the ages of four months to four years old.
Alongside the usual curriculum, the center provides extra activities for the children including music, sports, storytelling, as well as extracurricular activities for adults, such as parenting workshops and visits to places of cultural interest.
Daiana Kelly, a mother to one of the children attending, said that space is central to her son’s education. “Daycare is great. I know my son is fed well, he learns, he makes friends. It is also important for mothers to be able to work in peace. We know our children are being very well cared for.” Alongside lessons and activities, the space also offers five meals a day prepared by nutritionists.
The theme of the party was ‘circus,’ with children and staff dressing up and decorating the space. They also took time to honor Renata Nogueira, now a teacher at the center, who was one of the first children to attend ten years ago.
While other NGOs are also offering help to Complexo da Maré in the form of free basketball lessons and yoga classes, some, such as Instituto Vida Real, are struggling to find the funding to bring much needed school tutoring to a community beset by a military occupation.