By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

The dictionary is a repository of knowledge about favelas from the people who live in and study them. Photo: Steve Martinez

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – An online dictionary with terms related to Rio favelas is now available online. Designed as a wiki, the Dicionário Carioca de Favelas Marielle Franco (Marielle Franco Dictionary of Favelas) has nearly 300 entries.

Among them are concepts like Gentrificação and Favelas Cariocas (Gentrification and Carioca Favelas) and Direito à Favela (Right to Favelas), as well as expressions like Rolezinho, which the dictionary defines as a “cultural and collective manifestation by young people who want to affirm and claim their right to the city.”

Politician Marielle Franco was actively involved in creating the dictionary. Photo: Prachatai

According to project coordinator Sônia Fleury, the dictionary is a repository of knowledge about favelas from the people who live in and study them – a valuable resource for outsiders wishing to speak and write about these communities with respect and accuracy.

Fleury points out that outsiders make frequent mistakes. “The press often refers to favela Santa Marta as Dona Marta,” she says, adding that “ignorance shows contempt for a community’s history.”

To her, the dictionary does more than preserve favela history. It revisits the history of Rio de Janeiro, which has erased favelas and their rich cultural contributions.

The dictionary had the full support of councilwoman Marielle Franco, murdered last year. According to Fleury, naming the dictionary after Franco is “a tribute, but also a political statement.”

“Rio will never be culturally integrated and democratic if it continues to ignore favelas,” she explains.

The dictionary will help keep the memory of favelas – and of Marielle – alive.

View the dictionary here.


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