Food for the Favelas - COVID-19 Spurs Social Entrepreneurship in Brazil

June 1, 2021

Vlad Souza from has created a 100% free Portuguese course to help feed Brazilians living in the favelas.

Residents of the favelas are among those hardest hit by COVID-19.

  • Many of them lack running water, which makes basic sanitation and hygiene impossible.
  • Crowded conditions make social distancing impossible.
  • Those who do work put themselves and their families at risk of catching COVID-19. Yet, those who do not have work — due to lockdowns and lost jobs — have nothing to eat.

The BBC reported in April that some residents are lining up as early as 3 am in the hopes of obtaining a meager amount of food assistance:

They are given a bowl of pasta with meat and a portion of rice, two packets of biscuits and a carton of milk, shared between a whole household and usually their only meal of the day.

The reporter quoted a mother whose family faces homelessness: "I was hoping for a good life," she says, at the brink.

Approximately 6% of Brazilian residents live in favelas, or over 11 million. The BBC estimates that lockdowns and business failures have pushed an additional 9 million into poverty.

In Brazil, which has suffered the second highest number of deaths worldwide, a chronic lack of medical supplies, vaccines, and financial support for those affected has worsened the impact.

Vlad's course and how to donate

Vlad (pronounced "Vlagee") has created a mini-course to raise funds for the favelas.

The course is a highly-rated 7-day guide on how to sound like a native Brazilian:

Not interested in learning Portuguese? You can donate here to provide food to those in need. (PayPal is accepted.)

Gerando Falcões: applying business savvy to social problems

Students are asked to make a small donation if they like the course. All of the money raised goes to the favelas via a remarkable organization called Gerando Falcões ("Raising Falcons").

Founded by social entrepreneur Edu Lyra, Gerando Falcões works in the favelas bringing education in entrepreneurship as well as sports and social engagement, along with direct humanitarian relief. The organization amplifies its impact by coordinating a network of NGOs to accelelerate progress.

(See this Forbes article for more on their amazing work).

Vlad's fund-raising page

Gerando Falcões has set up a custom fund-raising page on their site for Vlad's initiative.

Digital food baskets

Donations are distributed as "digital food baskets" - pre-paid debit cards which can only be used to purchase food and hygeine items. These are typically used at local businesses which also helps the community.

The General Electric (G.E.) Foundation in the United States is among the donors to the Gerando Falcões food initiative. Other well-known corporate sponsors of Gerando Falcões include Citibank, Accenture, Nestlé, and UnitedHealthcare.

Will you join us?

Bravo to Vlad. This is a creative use of social entrepreneurship and marketing. And thank you to my Latin America-based colleague who told me about Vlad's venture.

To my readers: would you please consider making a donation today? It takes just a few minutes to make a profound impact.

One "digital food basket" costs 100 Brazilian reals, which is less than $10 US dollars.

Thank you!