Dora Andrade

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 1995
EDISCA-Esc. de Danca e Integr. Social p/Crian. e Adoles


This profile was prepared when Dora Isabel do Araújo Andrade was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
For girls growing up in severely impoverished circumstances in Fortaleza and other Brazilian cities, opportunities and experiences that contribute to healthy personal development and self-esteem are in exceedingly short supply, and prospects for happy and productive lives are correspondingly dim. Dora Andrade is convinced, however, that a judicious combination of dance training and other support services can have dramatically positive effects on the development and life prospects of girls and young women in those circumstances. A talented dancer and dance teacher, Dora knows that dance training increases girls' creativity and self-confidence. She also believes that it can strengthen social values and social skills that help girls stay in school, maintain emotional bonds with their families and resist the deceptive lures of street life, drugs and prostitution. Acting on those convictions, she has established a dance school that supplements demanding dance training with a broad array of educational and recreational activities and supporting health and counseling services.
In its first five years of operation, the dance school has met with considerable success in enriching the lives and addressing the pressing needs of the several hundred students that it has served. It has also elicited strong community support in the form of volunteer services and financial contributions. On the basis of that success, Dora now hopes that it will serve as a model for similar ventures in other settings.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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