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What is a favela?

What is a favela?

Have you ever seen a staircase made up of small houses? That’s what a favela looks like from far away. A favela is a slum or shantytown (town of shacks) in Brazil. There are hundreds of favelas in Brazil, but most are found in Rio de Janeiro (the second most populated Brazilian city). 

Favela’s are very poor neighborhoods originally built in the late 1800’s. First, they were built by soldiers as temporary housing, but when the soldiers moved out, the poor who were homeless moved in. Later on, people living in rural areas who moved to the city to find jobs found favelas were the only places they could afford to live. Favela populations are very poor. Brazil’s economy is not equal with almost 10% of its people living below poverty. People in favelas are often discriminated against and have a harder time finding jobs, making it more likely that they will never be able to live anywhere else. 

The Brazilian government has tried to eliminate favelas unsuccessfully. They’ve closed some down and moved some of the people to government housing that is built stronger and better than the favela. One reason why they want to break these neighborhoods up is because of the crime. Favelas can be very dangerous places to live or visit. 

Tourists sometimes visit favelas. Visiting new places is a great way to learn about the world, but being cautious and safe will always make your trip better and more fun.  

Slums
Favela is another word for slum (or shantytown or barrio). Slums are areas of big cities where very poor people live — often in shacks with no electricity or running water. In some cities in Africa and Asia, half the population of a city lives in slums. Although slums are now more common in the developing world, they were common in European and North American cities until about a hundred years ago.  

Urbanization
Already half of the world’s population lives in cities today, and experts believe the number will grow to more than two thirds of all people by 2050. What do you think, will there be more or less favelas or slums when so many people move to a city? 

By Lia L. Matthews (Whyzz writer)

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