Rocina, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Sharing Color and Hope in Brazil’s Largest Slum
By: Fabiana Lopes, South American Division, and Adventist Review, courtesy Adventist Review
The idea of painting the Comunitá-Rio community center building with graffiti came up early in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, organizers Gabriela Alves Marques and Harrison Marques were forced to wait to move ahead from the planning stage.
Comunitá-Rio is an Adventist volunteer-led community center located in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With a population of around 100,000, the notorious area of Rocinha is Brazil’s largest favela, a type of slum. Comunitá-Rio has been in the area since 2010, providing initiatives to foster and develop social responsibility, organizers of the center said.
The painting project was assigned to graffiti artist Henrique de Souza Melo, who has 10 years of experience in such initiatives. “I love what I do, and I believe that the result was excellent,” Melo said. He shared that as he was painting, children living in the area approached, asking him questions and offering to help him paint. “No doubt, the whole process will be etched in their minds,” Melo said. “I believe graffiti changes lives and brings social transformation. It was one of the biggest projects I’ve had. I am ecstatic with the result.”