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Favelas - The Heart of Rio

Favelas - The Heart of Rio (38)

Favelas are the heart of Rio.   

In addition to the beaches and Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro is also characterised by the favelas, with their rich and exuberant popular culture. The architecture, urban art and everyday life of the favelas illustrate the cultural diversity of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.

If you want to find out what makes the heart of this city beat, you have to visit the favelas. In fact, many of the samba schools were born in the favelas and the carnival festivities would not be the same without them. An experience in these areas will help you leave your prejudices behind and gain a better understanding of Rio de Janeiro.

In fact, most people living in the favelas are cariocas with limited resources who have no other place to live and who work hard in decent jobs just to survive. However, they are frowned upon because of the bad reputation created by a small minority that takes advantage of the situation of the favela to live in it and build their small criminal empires.

For the first time, there is a project to rescue the favelas. This is being promoted more by the inhabitants of the favelas and people interested in them than by the government itself, and the good news is that it's working. There are entire favelas that generate jobs and function as art and culture centres to rescue young people from a life of crime. 

This attitude and this artistic motivation have been enhanced by contributions from the government, which is making improvements to favelas in terms of public services, such as providing legal electricity supplies, waste collection, education, public works and social assistance programmes, as well as making attempts to quell the violence. To that end it set up UPPs (Pacifying Police Units). This pacification consists of removing the criminal gangs that dominate the favelas and thus all the violence that these generate, and then installing permanent police forces within the favela. They encourage contact and dialogue with the local people, who have been used to living alongside powerful drug dealers for decades. In short, it is a combination of police and social work, as defined by the authorities of Rio.

But not all favelas are recommended. At PlayandTour we can recommend the best ones to visit and feel welcome.

If you come into contact with the daily life of the workers and residents of these favelas, you'll change the way you see them. The human warmth, care and honesty of these families will ensure you leave behind any prejudices you might have about these areas that are cheerful, caring and reflect a deep sense of neighbourliness.

What is there to do in a favela?

Well, nothing and everything! 

Entering a favela is about strolling through the narrow alleyways that run between a jumble of houses and lively patios, between a jungle of electrical wires hanging from house to house, it is about sipping some fruit juice or sugar cane, sitting back and enjoying the hustle and bustle, buying some crafts, eating something in a street stall, chatting about life with some cariocas, listening to some good music...

It's simply about experiencing the heart of Rio.

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