Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Favela unveiled in London

If you’ve ever wondered what a favela (shanty town) looks like, then head down to London’s Southbank to see a model of it as part of Festival Brazil. The model is the brainchild of Project Morrinho a social and cultural project based out of the Pereira da Silva favela in Rio, and built in collaboration with young people from the Stockwell Park estate in Lambeth. What I like about this particular project is that it aims to show that life in a favela – and indeed in a London council estate – is not always as negative as people are led to believe.

That’s not to say that favelas don’t have their problems – notably those of crime, drugs and violence – and the Brazilian government certainly needs to continue to address such an extreme divide between the rich and poor. But often, foreigners perceive them simply as dangerous places and forget that, for so many people, it’s their home, and like in any other home, can be filled with intelligent, creative and entrepreneurial people.
Back in London, this sentiment is echoed by one of the young people working on the Southbank project, who said in an article in The Guardian: “We want Brixton and Stockwell to be shown not as the evil place that it's known as.”
The model on the Southbank is really impressive and dotted with refrences to the capital, like the London Eye and Big Ben. It’s only there until September 5, so don’t miss it.

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