Navegando nas Artes is helping communities in the south of São Paulo, many of whom are favela residents, to reconnect with water.
The project, based in Billings Dam in Grajau, São Paulo, Brazil, promotes environmental awareness to young people living around the dam.
Navegando nas Artes founder Franz Thomas, who grew up in the area, wanted to find a way to change people’s relationship to the lake. Franz Thomas began sailing with NGO Vento Em Popa when he was a child and now runs a sailing school for Billings Dam youth.
Navegando nas Artes run workshops where local graffiti artists teach kids how to decorate boats using paint made from natural materials such as earth, which forms part of their learning about the environment.
Navegando nas Artes currently have five boats, and are looking to repair other boats.
Sailing in Brazil is often used as a tool for social transformation. Navegando nas Artes believes that by fostering a good relationship with the communities that live on the banks of the Billings dam, and engaging them with their environment in fun and active ways, they can transform and ensure a better use of the dam.
Franz Thomas said: “The boats give us an excuse to talk to the boys about continuing their education, the environment and the idea of caring for the environment. Being on the water brings new possibilities.”
Navegando nas Artes are hoping to take their project to other areas in Brazil as well as internationally.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea