Projeto Uerê Brazil

Help for Hope sponsors capoeira and maculele classes in 'Project Uera, a privately funded school in the slums of Baixa Do Sapeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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In the slums of Rio, children are ‘at risk’ on a daily basis from: violent disputes between rival drug factions and militias; poverty; broken families and families where the parents themselves have suffered trauma and/ or engage in substance and alcohol abuse and violence. The children suffer from extremely low self esteem, high repetition rates in school and early school drop out, which can then lead them to the streets or the drug business.

Yvonne Bezerra de Mello was a student at the Sorbonne in Paris and spent her youth working with vision impaired children in Rio de Janeiro, street children and those living through war in Africa, and in immigrant ghettos in Paris. For over 20 years now, she has been using her vast experience of the impact of trauma on emotional behaviour and the ability to memorise, her knowledge of neuroscience and of teaching to develop a pedagogy to help the children ‘unlock’ their brains, learn and thrive.

At Project Uere, the children are given nutritious meals and a teaching programme that involves: high levels of interaction between the teachers and students so that they can develop the art of conversation and self expression; oral exercises to improve the functioning of the brain and memory; physical exercises to improve circulation and ease aches from the poor sleeping and living conditions; and then study of languages and the curriculum through maps, theatre and multimedia, and finally play. Extra curricular activities like the arts, martial arts, computer classes, music and soccer are a vital element of children expressing themselves and growing self esteem. They also learn team spirit, discipline and develop timing and spatial senses.

The performance at her school is so outstanding that the City Department of Education has elected her to train teachers of 150 schools with the worst performance in Rio de Janeiro and other states wish to learn. Her school however, is privately funded. It can host 430 children; over 100 are on the waiting list.

General objective of the program

Help for Hope funds 2 days per week for the teacher and materials for these dance/ martial arts classes. Not only do they benefit the existing students, but they also can serve as the first attraction to voluntarily enter Prject Uere when they have disengaged from education. These new children then engage in the curricular classes too and learn that school can be fun.

  • August 2014
  • October 2014
  • December 2014
  • December 2015


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Help for Hope sponsors ‘Capoeira / Maculele’ dance classes

Help for Hope sponsors ‘Capoeira / Maculele’ dance classes which, as well as being an expressive medium to grow self-esteem and skills, can first attract children voluntarily to enter the project, particularly when they have disengaged from education.



Volunteers participating

Volunteers participating in the RER race in Geneva to help raise funds for UERÊ.



Children learn team spirit

Children learn team spirit, discipline and develop timing and spatial senses.



Children have enjoyed a full year of Capoeira

Children have enjoyed a full year of Capoeira in 2015.


Thank YOU for the wonderful work and support you give us!"