Access was created in 2015 by Andrea Conrado, a humanitarian focused on international development. Andrea grew up near the favelas of São Paulo, where drug trafficking and related crime shapes the neighborhood. Her curiosity of Sao Paulo’s history and the dynamics of the community led her to explore the favelas (Portuguese for ‘slum’) a little deeper.
As she observed the general breakdown of community life due to drug trafficking, crime, and poverty, her findings motivated her to set up meetings with local NGO’s and reach out to community members previously involved with the criminal lifestyle, which then led to connections with those currently involved. These conversations ultimately led to creating partnerships with other cultural projects also determined to reach and impact as many lives as possible.
About a year after these conversations began, Andrea met a group of young adults who were active in the São Paulo drug scene. Prison sentences had motivated them to make a positive change for themselves and the youth of their community. Andrea began speaking to them on a weekly basis. Eventually, she suggested starting a conflict resolution program with local children, to educate them on how to manage themselves in compromising situations. Her influence spread; Andrea began to establish more connections, hold more meetings, and effect more people. Her plans to create safe-zones for the youth of São Paulo were starting to gain more public interest and popularity. In October of 2017, Access BRAZIL, formerly called Access Sao Paulo, opened their first education and support center.
Andrea’s prior experience with NGO’s in Washington, D.C. influenced her decision to establish Access Brazil in United States, though operational headquarters would remain in São Paulo, Brazil. In July 2017, Access obtained 501-C3 status - officially becoming a charitable nonprofit in the Unites States. Andrea regularly visits Washington, D.C. to network, fundraise, and increase awareness of her cause.
Access raises awareness globally to the challenges faced by underserved communities and helps raise funds for projects running in some of the most vulnerable favelas. With our partners we work closely with the youth through educational projects that teach global citizenship, political engagement and social responsibility through innovative methods. The goal is to develop future community leaders and successful professionals, by giving more Access, better opportunities, open doors, showing them that life in crime is not the only option as many may think.
Access currently has a pilot project "NAVE" (Nucleo de Acolhimento e Valorizacao da Educação) in one of the most impoverished areas in the favela of Capao Redondo. This project is now attending to 50-60 kids weekly aging from 3-11 years old. Most of these kids are children to drug addict parents, neglect at home as well as by the local public education system. We work with them to develop basic human senses, social responsibility and citizenship. We help those who are far behind on reading and writing in an alphabetization reinforcement program, we teach art, global culture, food education and environment awareness. Access focuses on violence prevention with this age group so they don't become easy targets of recruitment to the organized crime.
We are still working to develop a program targeted to the older kids.
Access is also working to create a social entrepreneurship and self Imaging workshop/consultancy catered to women/mothers in these communities. We believe that by creating safer households, empowering parents and women, we create safer communities and environments for the youth.
In addition to collaborating with programs that benefit youth in the city, Access Brazil focuses on providing unbiased information highlighting the misconceptions surrounding Access Brazil's violent conditions. Most importantly, our main objective is to empower the youth marginalized by Sao Paulo's recurrent violence. We attempt to shed light on the deepened societal barriers which further social marginalization, prejudice, and economic deprivation.