Brazil: Surf School for Children from the Favelas in Rio de Janeiro

KS2: ages 7-11FilmWebsite

This is a short film with accompanying teaching activities, produced by the British Council. It introduces us to a surf school run on Ipanema Beach in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, and is home to Ipanema Beach. Every morning the beach is transformed into a surf school, which aims to give children from poorer backgrounds (in the favelas) access to free surf boards and lessons.

A favela is a community located high up in the Brazilian mountains. Favelas began in Brazil over 100 years ago because poor people didn’t have anywhere to live, so they built houses on Rio’s steep hillsides.

Today, over one million people live in Rio’s favelas. Life isn’t always easy: the houses sometimes get washed away in heavy flooding and many favelas don’t have proper roads or sewers. Often there aren’t enough rubbish collections, so piles of litter build up.

Some favelas are ruled by criminal gangs, so life can be dangerous. But in 2016 Rio will host the Olympic Games and the government wants to make improvements.

The police have started taking back the favelas from the gangs. Sometimes this process has been violent and the fact that the police now constantly patrol the favelas has been criticised by many.

But making the favelas safe is good for the local economy, as people can come to visit.

This film tells the story of the lives, experiences and aspirations of children from Rio’s favelas who attend the Favela Surf Clube on Ipanema beach.


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