Lockdown Stories

Grassroot Media Making in the favelas
of Rio de Janeiro

Dinei Medina

Dinei Medina- from Chapéu Mangueira

Hi, I’m Dinei Medina. I live in Chapéu Mangueira, I’m a tour guide and I also work at the Humans Rights Commission in the House of Representative of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

We have been developing this work with tourism in the favelas of Babilônia and Chapéu Mangueira since 2008, one year before the Pacifying Police Unit (PPU) was established here.

Dinei Medina's Covid-19 Story

Tourism was affected in well-known touristic areas of Rio de Janeiro, like the Ipanema neighbourhood, with its beaches and all. Can you only imagine how things are inside the favelas? A lot of favela’s residents who work at the beach or work in other places are bringing this disease inside the community, inside our neighbourhood.

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Dinei Medina- from Chapéu Mangueira

The PPU helped to raise the numbers of the tourists who visited favelas because of the sense security. We organise contemplative and historical tours.

In our tours, we offer not only a sightseeing. We offer feijoada (traditional bean stew), samba concerts, we offer that warm human contact that Cariocas are very famous for!

As residents of this favela, we are also helping our favelas to access public policies.

We are part of an initiative called ‘Revolusonar’ that started in 2015. The aim of ‘Revolusonar’ is to install solar panels to generate electricity inside the favela. We have already installed three panels in two hostels and in one public building.

Besides, we offer courses to residents. We offer free basic electricity courses, and after we install the solar panels, we teach them how to manage the solar panels in order to create a better job opportunity for these people. For example, we installed a panel in a public school in Chapéu-Mangueira that will save around 6,000 reais a year in electricity bills. We are also creating a cooperative. It will be the first favela cooperative in Brazil to promote and provide solar energy.

We installed a mini-solar power plant in the roof of the resident’s association in Babilônia that will provide electricity for 30 houses a year in Chapéu-Mangueira. We surveyed 100 houses inside the community, and we are planning panels’ installations in these houses.

Dinei Medina’s Covid-19 Story 

We are facing a lot of difficulties, because they work as freelancers, they earn their living every day and all these activities stopped. They are in need of assistance and we, in our community, help everybody, and we help people from other areas that are living here as well.

The rent in Chapéu-Mangueira is really expensive because we are just one block away from the beach and our residents are struggling to pay their rent.

We know that Brazilian’s authorities want to impose a more severe lockdown and we know that this pandemic will continue for a long time.  

However, Brazilian people is not comfortable with social isolation and for our reality, here inside the favela, is even more difficult to respect this type of measure. How we are going to confine five people in a two-room apartment? It´s really difficult for us to respect it and maintain social isolation within our communities.

If you would like to get in touch, know more about Chapéu Mangueira or book a tour, please contact me: