Se essa rua fosse minha ("If this street were mine")
Se essa rua fosse minha began in 1991 as a collaboration between four of the biggest NGOs in Rio de Janeiro. It had three goals:
- To learn the stories of individual street children and to think with them about alternatives
- To motivate society to help
- To provoke the government
They learned that, like any tourist, the children congregated in Copacabana, Ipanema, and Cinelândia. There they could beg, steal, get food, and feel the excitement of Rio. Se essa rua concentrated its work on these neighborhoods.
One of the first projects was also one of the most successful. Se essa rua invited some of Brasils most famous singers (Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Xuxa, Caetano Veloso) to collaborate on a CD about the street. In addition to the money that this CD raised, it also raised consciousness about youth homelessness and turned the problem into an important social question.
With the money from the CD, Se essa rua expanded into many areas: art, education (on and off the street), and sports. In addition to the fun this provided for the kids, it also forced the public to see them as real children, not as a plague. The children gained recognition for something good about themselves.
This recognition encouraged Se essa rua to begin the work for which it is now famous: the circus. As the children practice tumbling, high-wire, juggling, or clowning on the street, everyone wanted to talk to them. Self-esteem, personal identity, and body awareness became central to Se essa ruas work. Street education also included literacy, health, and drugs. A nurse circulates with street educators, more to facilitate entry into hospitals than to do actual care on the street.
In 1993, Se essa rua opened a day center, allowing them to do similar work, but in a more private space. A year later, the first shelter opened.
Today, Se essa rua has become one of the most valuable resources in the city for street kids -- and for local and national circuses. Many graduates of Se essa rua go on to the National Circus School (very prestigious in Brazil), and in 1997, the first circus performer came back to begin classes for current street kids. Graduates are now in circuses all around the world.
Se essa rua also works in prevention. Clients, graduates, and staff teach circus in the favelas, using the same techniques the developed with street kids to strengthen cultural identity and pride.
Contacto: César Marques
telefone (55-21) 3648-0298
Dirección: Rua Alice 298
22241-020 Rio de Janeiro, RJ