Brazil: Business Innovation, Favela Tourism

KS3: ages 11-14KS4: ages 14-16WebsiteFilm

This is a short film with accompanying teaching activities, produced by the British Council. In this film we meet a young entrepreneur from Brazil’s favelas and see how life is changing in Rio de Janeiro in the build-up to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Favelas are shanty towns built on Rio’s steep hillsides. Many favelas have no proper roads or sewers and, perched precariously on the hillside, the houses sometimes get washed away by floods. Some favelas are ruled by drug lords and criminal gangs, so life can be dangerous.

In January 2012, Brazil overtook the UK as the fifth largest economy in the world. Despite this, nearly one in five of Rio’s population lives in a favela.

Mayara is a young entrepreneur who wants to set up a tourism business, offering bed and breakfast and guided tours around the favela where she lives, which is called Cantagalo. Just two years ago, tourists rarely set foot in Cantagalo. But things are changing.

In 2016 Rio will host the Olympic Games and the government wants to make improvements. The police have moved into Cantagalo, pushing the drug lords out. Most people there think things are better, but the police face criticism for their near-constant patrols. By 2020, the government would like to more than double the number of tourists visiting Brazil. This is good news for Mayara’s project.

Lots of people would like to leave Cantagalo and move down to the city but Mayara wants to harness the energies of Brazil’s current economic boom and she plans to stay in her favela to build a brighter future.


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