Eliana Sousa Silva
Fellow Since 1999
Centro de Estudos para a Intervenção Social (CESIS)
This profile was prepared when Eliana Sousa Silva was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Eliana's research and action center, CEASM (Center for Study and Action in Maré), transforms Brazilian shantytowns or favela dweller's perspective on their social, economic, and political challenges by transforming residents' conception of the favela from a temporary community into a citizen group with rights to core public services and infrastructure. Eliana's model has three components. First, a rigorous college-entrance exam preparatory course brings students up to university competence within months, and simultaneously teaches them citizenship and social responsibility. The teachers are themselves favela residents who have graduated from college. They act as role models for the students and educated people receive a unique chance for gainful, rewarding employment that gives back to their.The second part of her model is a program to coach third graders, encouraging them early to think about a university future by introducing them to tutors who talk about college during after-school programs such as art, theater, dance, and sports. CEASM's third component directly serves the entire population through its library and research activities that focus on local socio-economic problems and draw in experts from Rio de Janeiro's universities.