Alemberg De Souza Lima
Fellow Since 2002
This profile was prepared when Alemberg De Souza Lima was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Alemberg is using communications training and youth empowerment to invigorate one of Brazil's poorest regions. The simple concept of providing new opportunities for children to act as the catalyzing force behind change is at the heart of his innovation. In the middle of the dry northeast sertão, Alemberg has opened a space for children to develop their talents by channeling the energy of youth into new opportunities for education, professional training, and social transformation. From directing a communications school to managing a radio station to serving as museum guides, young people are at the helm of initiatives that have already transformed the city of Nova Olinda and are sending ripples throughout Brazil. Attracting nearly 3,000 tourists a month, the once stagnant economy of this isolated town has been revitalized by the children's creativity, rather than thwarted by their exploitation. As they study methods of communication from prehistory to the era of multimedia, the youngsters rediscover their culture and become stakeholders in its preservation. Alemberg's program allows even the poorest youths not only to take pride in their culture but also to play an active role in its development.