Brazil: Helping At Risk Children in an Emerging Economic Powerhouse

Mercer students, above, working with at risk children in Brazil's favelas.A group of nine Mercer students and two professors spent three-weeks working with at risk children in Brazil's favelas.  Brazil, along with India, Russia and China, has reached a specific level of modernization but remains plagued by chronic poverty, uneven development and systemic challenges. Mercer students worked with several organizations that reach out to children in Brazil's favelas. Working at an arts outreach institute, Mercer students interacted with the children through photography and craft projects, a cooking demonstration, and sports – teaching each other baseball and soccer. The group also worked with the Friends Forever Christian Community, an organization working to provide educational opportunities for children to help them pass Brazil's university entrance exam. Mercer students worked with about 30 children from ages 5-18 on this effort. In addition, students renovated one family's apartment in a government housing project. The group also visited Rio de Janeiro, where the Mercer students toured the city and visited the American School to learn more about its service-learning efforts in Rocinha, the largest favela in the country of Brazil. Rocinha surrounds the school and abuts one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city.