VIY project to take place in Rio

Friday 6th June 2014

Favela

Cospa has been invited by the internationally-renowned Favela Painting social initiative to set up a VIY Volunteer It Yourself project in the favela of Vila Cruzeiro in Rio de Janeiro. VIY Rio will be the first VIY project to take place outside of the UK.

Co-created by Cospa, VIY challenges young people to fix youth club and community buildings in need of essential repairs, mentored by local tradespeople and supported by organisations such as Wickes, Rated People and City & Guilds. To date, more than 60 buildings have been refurbished across the UK, involving and benefitting 1,300 young people.

Favela Painting mobilises local people in disadvantaged communities to transform the areas they live in by painting the exteriors of buildings to create giant works of art. Now, by hosting VIY in Rio, Favela Painting is keen to offer opportunities for favela residents to go further in working to improve their communities by learning and applying trade and building skills.

The VIY Rio project will focus on the refurbishment of 20 homes and one public space at the heart of the Vila Cruzeiro favela. Up to 150 local residents are set to take part, many of whom will be working towards gaining a vocational building skills qualification that can open up potential future employment opportunities. The project is expected to start later this year, with a view to testing the model.

Line Algoed, Cospa’s VIY Manager in the UK, visited the favela in May to share learning from the UK project and start putting the local relationships and other elements in place. She says: “As favelas are almost entirely self-built, residents often learn improvised building and construction skills from an early age, helping their families and neighbours to construct the houses they live in. The VIY project intends to build on this existing strength for civic engagement and self-reliance to develop a model that will boost people’s skills and employment prospects and also help unlock potential in the local economy.”

Cospa is currently looking for organisations, both in the UK and Brazil, interested in supporting and partnering on VIY Rio. For further information or to express your interest, please contact Line Algoed at line@teamcospa.com.