Documentary Shots of an alternative school located in Complexo da Maré in one of the biggest favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The school is based on an international project founded by Yvonne Bezarra de Mello 14 years ago after several streetkids were shot in the Candelária Massacre in downtown Rio.
Special teaching methodologies were developed to support the kids who are traumatized by violence and suffering from learning problems. The kids are sharing dreams, accomplishments and improved self-esteem, even in an alarming environment of extreme poverty, social exclusion and organized crime.
“It is the brilliant idea of an ideal school” the founder and director Yvonne Bezarra de Mello says. The Brazilian government is adapting the pedagogy and successful learning methods to public schools in the whole country.
The first picture shows seven policemen in a car with fully loaded machineguns on their daily routine through the complex of favelas. ‘Its normal to arrive in a hail of bullets..’ the teacher explains. We had to leave the favela in the afternoon everyday due to danger and risks of safety. The crime and drug lords would be awake soon. “Katarina!” – ‘I still remember the teachers screaming my name for leaving the building when I have been deep inside the corridors to shoot an empty class room.’
The pictures were shown in the European Month of Photography in October and November 2010 in Vienna ‘The Goal is to replace an Empty Mind with an Open Mind’.