About us

Mission

Bahia Street girls learn how to prepare food.Bahia Street breaks cycles of poverty and violence through quality education for impoverished girls and young women living in Salvador, Brazil. Globally, Bahia Street brings people from all backgrounds together for discussions and actions that promote
equality.

Overview

The Bahia Street Center provides 75 young women and girls (aged 6 -14) from impoverished neighborhoods in Salvador with a quality education.  Located in Salvador’s city center and led by educators and staff who themselves come from economically impoverished backgrounds, Bahia Street provides a holistic approach to education that includes a comprehensive academic curriculum supported by leadership training, social education, and extra-curricular activities that range from capoeira to dramatic arts. Bahia Street provides transportation to school, school uniforms, school supplies, two meals a day, and health care on a consistent basis. In addition, Bahia Street provides free university entrance exam preparation evening classes for high school-aged girls and older women. Center activities further extend to the local community; parents, caregivers, and other partner organizations receive educational and resource support. The local community is directly connected to the Center because they see and experience its benefits.

Although learning is challenging within their underfunded public schools, the girls are
becoming leaders in there, rising quickly to the top of their classes, and gaining self confidence and leadership skills. There they teach and mentor their classmates.

Origins

Bahia Street was founded in 1996 by Rita Conceição, an African-Brazilian anthropologist who was born and raised in a Brazilian shantytown. The residents of the shantytowns told Rita that the only way to escape the cycle of poverty and inequality in which they live would be an opportunity for quality education that would allow young people to enter university and professional employment. All residents agreed that women are the most disadvantaged, and that women would be more likely to benefit others by using their education to work for social justice in their communities.