My name is Mayra. I grew up in one of the poorest favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro. In my favela, police and drug gangs fight each other to the bitter end. Many children fall victim to this violence.
When I was 11 years old, the situation got out of hand to the extent that the army set up checkpoints at the entrance roads to my favela, to keep unwanted guests out.
A side effect of this security measure was that schools and hospitals had to close down, because doctors and teachers couldn’t come into the community anymore. But children have the right to education! So I stood up for my right and asked to be admitted to a school somewhere else. Ever since, I have continued to fight for my rights and that of other children and young people. I organized, for example, a peace march in which hundreds of young people participated. Together, we were able to convince the police to patrol further away from schools, to avoid violence nearby. Moreover, police and drug gangs agreed to not shoot during school hours. As a result, many children were able go to school again!
Together we move the world
KidsRights supports me, as a changemaker, in my fight against the violence in the favelas. The residents of the favela can make a difference if they really want to, as long as they have more faith in themselves. Together we must stand up for our rights to education and peace!
Everyone has a role to play in improving children's rights. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, politician or farmer, man or woman, young or old. We can, and should, all stand up and make a difference, as real changemakers!