15 amazing Brazilian changemakers

The Amaphiko Academy is happening now in downtown São Paulo with lecturers including vert skateboarder Sando Dias, photographer Martha Cooper and Amazonian doctor Eugenio Scanavino.

And of course, the most exciting young changemakers in the country. Meet Brazil’s future.

Manoela Gonçalves

Manoela realised that single mothers in São Paulo needed more help. So three years ago she designed ‘The House of Creole’ as a place where women could unite and strengthen their relationships with their children through meetings and debates, educational programmes for kids, or just afternoon coffee. “Our first contact is listening,” says Manoela. “And we always start with a coffee and a hug.”

Lei Di Dai

Brazil’s ragga queen is using Jamaican creativity to give a voice to artists from marginalised Brazilian communities. Her Ghetto Ghetto project holds free Sunday soundsystem dances in public spaces on the outskirts of São Paulo including parks and libraries. They’re also running dance and graf workshops as well as encouraging an open mic mentality at the events. “Our goal is to bring culture to communities amd to encourage local artists to believe in their own talent.” Next stop: the rest of the country.

Fabricio Vieira

The community of Penha Beach, Paraiba, was mostly known for high levels of violence. Thanks to Fabricio Viera’s Sirens Of The Rock, it’s known for fashion, culture and the group of women who created accessories from fish scales for designer Ronaldo Fraga. The project changed the lives of the women who worked on the show, but it’s also changing the community’s sense of their own rich cultural heritage.

Camila Carvalho

Lend Me Some Sugar is a clever way of addressing both over-consumption and urban isolation. Thanks to Camila Carvalho’s website, neighbours needing to borrow a sink plunger or a warm jumper can borrow one from a neighbour rather than buying one. The project is only six months old but already has 50,000 users. “I want sharing to be one of the first things you think about when you realise you need something,” she says.

Hamilton Henrique

Saladorama is Hamilton Henrique’s way of dealing with the poor nutrition that often blights poor communities who don’t have access to fresh foods. His salads – labelled ‘strength’, ‘balance’ and ‘good blood’ – are both affordable and healthy. As well as improving people’s diets, Saladorama also trains up girls to become Saladorama entrepreneurs in their own communities. Currently in Sao Goncalo, Rio and Recife, Henrique aims to reach 50,000 this year and a million people by 2018.

Tomás Abrahão

“Raízs is about encouraging family farming in rural areas and also about people in cities consuming healthy organic food.” So says founder Tomás Abrahão who labels his food with pictures of the farmers who produced it. They also ensure a very speedy delivery, ensuring city folk get their fruit and veg within 24 hours of harvest.

Lucas Gomes

Lucas Gomes was only 17 when he created the first festival of urban dance in Brazil’s favelas. The events are free or affordable and are co-produced by local residents. “Everyone benefits from the presence of the festival,” he says, “from taxis to hostels, profits go up by more than 40%”. It’s not just about the money. “We want to change the discourse and show that slums are powerful – people there can create their own businesses and exhibit their talents.”

Adhara Scanavino

The Amazon is the national symbol of Brazil but it’s only recently that it began to enter the travel itinerary of the country’s holidaymakers. The leading area in this rediscovery is Alter Do Chão, a beautiful freshwater beach that’s been named the most beautiful in Brazil. AMZ aims to deal with the problems rapid growth are bringing by offering sustainable tourism. “In AMZ, communities are the star of the trip,” says Scanavino who generates income for families through tourism and by her virtual craft shop. “The goal is to keep this paradise healthy.”

Andrew Lenz

When American Andrew Lenz came to Brazil he immediately thought that the favela hills would make great climbing. So in 2011 he created the Urban Climbing Centre to promote climbing for young people in the Rocinha community. “Climbing is considered a sport for rich people and the poorest people in society rarely get to enjoy all the benefits it provides,” he says. “And we have already started to make a big impact.”

Raphael Silva

Engineer Raphael Silva has invented the Ludwig, a bracelet and tablet that converts sound waves into a variety of colours and vibrations that allows deaf and hearing impaired people to ‘feel’ the music. Raphael: “Music excites and makes our world something special, different. Everyone deserves to have access to this art and to enjoy its benefits.”

Christian Engelmann

It was a visit to a landfill that changed Christian Englemann’s life forever. “The experience was too strong not to do anything about it,” he says. He created Reverse, an app that uses geolocation to show exactly where to dispose of your batteries, plastics and recyclables, and that unites people, companies and city governments around the issue.

Carolina Ferres

São Paulo is an urban megacity – built on top of more than 300 rivers. Cuidade Azul (it translates as ‘your blue city’) aims to reconnect people to their aqualine origins with all the health and environmental benefits that waterside living brings. Through their website, app and interventions they’re revealing the hidden beauty of the city – and eventually to bring stretches of São Paulo’s rivers back to life.

Estefânia Rosa

Pro kitesurfer Estefânia Rosa decided that it wasn’t fair that only tourists and international athletes were able to make the most of her local Cumbuco beach for kitesurfing. So she opened a kite surf school for local kids and broadened the offering to include football, capoeira and dance. When local teenager Francielen began playing around with cameraphones, Estefânia realised she might have a hidden talent – and two years on she’s now responsible for all the project photography and design.

Monyse Almeida

In São Paulo alone there are over 12,000 small and informal sewing workshops, mostly employing very poor migrant workers. Align (or ‘the line’) aims to professionalise sewing workshops and to improve working conditions for seamstresses. Founder and lawyer Monyse Oliviera also aims to connect professionalised workshops with prospective buyers – and to contribute to fashion’s new-found interest in sustainability.

Marc Kirst

Prove is a programme of workshops, virtual learning and camps for high school students to help them discover their personal potential. Betting on self-knowledge as the key to transformation, it promotes alternative forms of education and learning – and encourages young people to follow their ‘authentic embodiment’, happiness and eventually service to the world.

The Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is happening now in downtown São Paulo, Brazil.