Eyes of the street

Subject: Social Project ‘Eyes of the Street’

The idea for Eyes of the Street first appeared in 2014, when Giselle Barboza, founder of the project was working on a documentary for London’s Channel 4 News about child prostitution in Brazil. When she watched, in a London studio, images brought from Brazil, the vacant gaze of a 8 year old boy who was addicted to glue and living in the streets of Recife caught her attention.

That night she could not sleep, and kept thinking of what could she do, even from a distance, to help boys like that one to have an opportunity in life. She then started to list, on a piece of paper, her abilities and little by little started to give shape to a social project that combined creativity, photography and opportunity to the neediest.

‘I asked myself whether that boy had a house or were part of a community. What were his abilities and talents? What did he do in his everyday life?’ says Giselle.

And so, in partnership with Daniel Meirinho, co-founder of the project, professor of Social Communication at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte and with more than ten years’ experience in photography workshops in peripheral communities all  over the world, that she developed the project Eyes of the Street. After two years of establishing partnerships, defining the operational model and searching for a NGO partner in Recife, the project became reality.

In May 2016 Eyes of the Street kicked off in Recife, northeast Brazil. Cameras were given to 16 young men from the outskirts neighbourhoods of Arruda and Santo Amaro. The youths took part in photography workshops in the local partner social project called Pé no Chão (Barefoot) in the neighbourhood of Arruda, and soon after that set off to capture images of their daily lives, their stories and their realities as seen from their own point of view.

The project Eyes of the Street has as its objective to empower children and youths that are in a vulnerable or risky social situation to become protagonist of their own stories using photography as a creative tool. And thus, re-access their realities based on their own perception.

4 thousand pictures were taken and an exposition was organized so that all in their community could see them. The cameras used in the works were bought by the project team itself and at the end of the activity are donated to the local NGO which will continue developing the project. 

Soon after ending the project in Recife, the team travelled to the village of Suzana, in Guinee Bissau, where it developed, in partnership with the NGO Vida,  a project involving 28 women who had never held a camera before could experience photography as a means of empowerment and leadership.

The next activity is planned for January 2018 to take place in Jardim Gramacho, Rio de Janeiro. 

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