In July 2009, Roque and Rebecca Araujo went to Salvador (Bahia), Brazil and visited their friends, the founders of ABCR Cajado de Prata, a local association formed to improve the quality of life in their favela neighborhood of Tancredo Neves. They were moved and inspired by the outreach program their friends had created, their passion for change, their dedication as volunteers, and the overwhelming participation from the residents of their neighborhood. Within two months of opening, ABCR had over 80 students registered for their classes, over 75% children. The demand for their classes was even greater than they anticipated.
Since we envisioned this organization, many individuals have been instrumental in volunteering their time and talents to helping us launch. Brazil Without Barriers is deeply grateful for the support of our friends, family, capoeira students, artists, performers, leaders and businesses in our community who have provided support and guidance to our mission. They have shared their talents and depth of understanding, expertise, and experience in their specialty area, including local and international business operations, Brazilian culture, project management, fundraising, event planning, and non-profit business management.
We couldn't do what we do without the support of volunteers! THANK YOU! OBRIGADA!
Brazil Without Barriers was created to provide international support to ensure sustainable programming for our partner organization in Brazil. We are a volunteer-based organization based out of Long Beach, California. Below is our BWB Team:
Recognizing the mountain of needs this under-served community faces, the question was asked,"What do you need?" The response came the next day on a wish list of supplies and materials needed for the classes and center to operate. Thus, the vision for Brazil Without Barriers (aka Brasil Sem Barreiras) was born, and our partnership was established to help ABCR succeed in their efforts to help improve the lives of their community.
Founder of BWB and Project Director
Youth basketball coach and Lakers fan
Founder of ABCR, community leader, teacher of embroidery and arts and crafts classes.
ABCR volunteers in Salvador, Bahia (Brazil) know their community best and are utilizing their skills, talents, cultural and community assets to address the educational, social, and economic gaps. We help them to keep helping people. We have a common goal to improve the quality of life in their under-served community by building community, educating, creating awareness, breaking stereotypes, and helping to build a more equal society. Below are some of the ABCR volunteer teachers:
A native of Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, Roque (also known as "Mestre Roque") grew up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city, Nordeste de Amaralina. He understands first-hand the challenges of living in a favela plagued with violence, drugs, poverty, racism, and lack of hope--and also the solutions that keep kids on the right track.
"If I can help one child to stay on track, that child will grow up and help more."
Roque has known the founders and volunteers of ABCR for over 20 years. He emigrated to the USA in 2005, he's a master of capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) and also founded BodySport Capoeira.
ABCR Program Coordinator; local public school Portuguese teacher
Mestre (Master) Mãozinha
Teacher of Afro-Brazilian art of capoeira, maculelê and drumming
Founder of ABCR and Cultural Liasion Director
Since her first trip to Brazil in 1994, Rebecca fell in love with the vibrant culture and warmth of Brazilians, but never forgot the alarming poverty, inequality, and stories of difficulties.
"My life has been enriched by the generosity of many Brazilians that have touched my life. Brazil Without Barriers is way to pay it forward."
Rebecca is a native of northern Minnesota. During the day, she's a Project Manager for an environmental consulting company. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies from the University of Minnesota/Twin Cities, speaks Portuguese, trains and teaches capoeira, and is a wife and mom.