I took this image on Children’s Day at an orphanage in Brazil. The event I wanted to document was organized by the Children at Risk Foundation (CARF), and its Hummingbird Project, in the urban periphery of Diadema, São Paulo. The performance by the Hummingbird Band (Banda Beija Flor) for the children living in the slum and the orphanage recalls a symbolic moment in the history of Brazilian slavery and its links with the traditions of the martial art capoeira.
The young man in the picture is Jefferson, a youth mentor and capoeira instructor at the Foundation. He is a former street kid and understands well the value of this performance for children living in inequality. Part of the recovery programme at CARF, capoeira is an important tool in rescuing kids from the hardship of the streets, just as it was during the freedom struggle of Brazilian slaves more than a century ago. This symbolic moment is not only about the plight of his African brothers and sisters but also relates to Jefferson’s own struggle for freedom from drugs and the streets; he too is one of those who has recovered with the help of a capoeira youth mentor and instructor.