Brazil Blogpost #1
February 5, 2013
Technology in Favelas
While exploring different cities and favelas in Brazil, we have learned a lot about how different residents and communities interact with each other using technology. We visited 3 favelas during our trip and all 3 are extremely well much connected to phones, computers and the internet--and residents use these tools for many different reasons.
There are many misconceptions about favelas in regards to technology. Many people believe that the residents have little or no access to technology and internet. This is not true. Most of the youth in the favelas that we visited have plenty of access to technology whether it be through their own devices, or via school or friends. In addition to that, we also had the opportunity to learn about the different organizations and programs in Rio and how they successfully use technology.
The first favela we visited was Cantagalo, home to “the Favela Museum”. Within the favela there is an educational building for kids to learn and to use computers. Just like the way teens in America use computers, youth in Brazil are always on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
The second favela we visited, Vila Autódromo, is adjacent to the under construction olympic site. This favela is now threatened because the government does not want to have a favela so close to the Olympics. Naturally, the residents of this favela were very upset that the government would rather evict all of them rather than investing in the community. There are a lot of organizations and support groups that are being formed to help the community--and many of these are organized via mobile phones and the internet.When we met with them, they said that they mainly often use email and facebook to stay in touch with the outsiders of Vila Autódromo.
Though access to the internet and technology in Favelas is slightly different than home in the US, residents of these communities are using the tools wisely. It is exciting to see what change technology is already bringing and could bring to these communities when in the hands of motivated residents.