Turning One’s Back on the Street and Building a Future

Education, preventing violence, encouraging sports and artistic activities: at Cidade Olimpica, a disadvantaged neighborhood of Sao Luis, in the Nordeste province of Brazil, two NGOs strive to help the children and adolescents build lives worthy of the name.

Social and Employment

São Luis, Brazil

Simone Siqueira

35,000 euro to the Selection Committee at 2006/10/03

Project leader


“The Cidade Olimpica project concerns about 300 children and adolescents who, through the many activities offered by the association, receive education and vocational training. Without our help, they would have no chance of obtaining quality training.”
Simone Siqueira

In the disadvantaged neighborhood of Cidade Olimpica, at Sao Luis (capital of the State of Maranhao), half of the population are under 21. The school, which only runs for three to four hours per day, leaves all these young persons to themselves during a large part of the day. And the families, focused on the necessities of daily survival, experience difficulty providing them with a sufficiently structuring education. In this context, the youths are confronted with major risks: violence, drugs, etc.

Tangible Results Already

In partnership with Essor (a French NGO active in the Portuguese-speaking countries), the Brazilian NGO GACC-MA proposes socio-educational activities to 180 children and 150 adolescents. As part of the federal program for education and the eradication of child labor, launched in 2002 by the Brazilian government, the two NGOs have mounted a program relying on the schools and neighborhood associations. It comprises four aspects: education, prevention against domestic and sexual violence, sports and artistic activities. Since its launch, a clear improvement in the conditions of the neighborhood has already been felt. In particular, violence is sharply declining.


The two NGOs are therefore eager to continue the work undertaken, but they lack the means to acquire and maintain the equipment they need. The aid granted by fondation Veolia will be used to build a new multisport field and to acquire five IT packs (hardware and software). This is indispensable to put these youths on the road to a decent adulthood.