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Dreams of Rio: Beyond the Dreams. Jörgen having lunch at Instituto Bola Pra Frente in Guadalupe after a photo session.

June 2016 Dreams of Rio: Beyond the Dreams

In late 2015, photographer and journalist Jörgen Skjelsbaek had an idea on how to tell and present the stories of Dream Learn Work. He shared his thoughts for the NGO and a project was developed to communicate DLW participant’s dreams and stories through a first person narrative combined with a portrait photograph.


Jörgen taking pictures of Juliana during one of our DREAMS OF RIO sessions.

‘’The basic idea was that all people have an interesting and unique story to tell. Now, we have been doing interviews for six months and, even though, the participants share similar backgrounds – they all come from less-developed areas and from low-income families – every story so far have managed to find a twist of its own. Some dreams are big, others are smaller, but in almost all cases they are surprisingly realistic. I guess our project really proves that everyone have something worth telling even if we weren’t absolutely sure about that when we started out on this journey,’’ Jörgen explains about his expectations for the project.


Jörgen has developed quite a photo archive for Dream Learn Work since the start, late 2015.

The stories of Dreams of Rio have been published every Friday since the end of February as a celebration of Dream Learn Work's 10th anniversary. Fridays are now dedicated to dream internally in DLW. Because it is necessary to dream and inspire to dream. This project is one of many created in order to motivate the participants to look toward to a bright future with many possibilities. All the DLW participants come from poor areas where it is often hard to find reasons to dream at all. Maré, Guadalupe, Deodoro, Marchael Hérmes, São Gonçalo, Niteroi, Itaboraí, Rocinha are the areas DLW covers.

Some might think that poverty and growing up in an area with bad influences in every corner might encourage youngsters to change their future and find a better place for themselves. But, in most cases, it is not like that. In most cases the life of the “criminal hero” appeal and they become just another person trapped in a criminal monopoly with no way out. Unless you study and work hard to get out. Although many wish for a better future, they don’t necessarily want to move from where they grew up. Many of the participants say that despite the danger and criminality they like the ‘’favela’’ culture and want to live close to family and friends.

’’Giving up is not an option for these youngsters. It is great to see that even without inspiration, help or motivation from home, parents or community, these young people are ready to conquer the world and they have realized that the best way to do that, is through knowledge and education,’’ he says.

Dream Learn Work is very grateful for volunteers such as Jörgen. Having experienced professionals as volunteers gives great results. Many of our partners get involved in our organization sharing expertise and knowledge and this extremely beneficial to all involved in our many projects.

‘’For me personally, it is very satisfying to work with a project where my professional knowledge and expertise can be of use. It’s also very rewarding to see these youngsters having such a positive view of the future, even when the country is in such a mess. If future generations of Brazil can maintain this positive attitude, there’s still hope for the country!” Jörgen says, evaluating the project.


Jörgen having lunch at Instituto Bola Pra Frente in Guadalupe after a photo session.

Do you want to help or volunteer in our organization? Please send an e-mail to jeanette@dreamlearnwork.com