Building Bridges: Donor Paulo Ribeiro Visits
Arquitetura na Periferia

The BrazilFoundation grantee network is composed of hundreds of organizations doing extraordinary work throughout Brazil. Each one deserves support, and when donors can connect with a specific cause that inspires them, great things are possible! Paulo Ribeiro, a member of the BrazilFoundation community in New York, found out about Arquitetura na Periferia through friend and fellow BrazilFoundation supporter Mauricio Morato. The Arquitetura na Periferia project, conceived by organization Arquitetura sem Fronteiras, teaches women to perform small renovations and improve their housing in Belo Horizonte, Impressed with the initiative after reading up about the project’s work, Paulo decided to make a donation through the {Abrace o Brasil} campaign. But his support didn’t stop there; weeks later he visited the project to see their work first hand. He later took a moment to tell us about his experience here:

1. How did you learn about Arquitetura na Periferia?
“Mauricio had mentioned it. He thought it would be something that my husband Walter (who recently changed careers and became an architect) and myself (being from Belo Horizonte) would like to support. And he was right. I checked their story via the Brazil Foundation website and was thoroughly impressed by Carina’s [Arquitetura na Periferia coordinator] ideas.”

2. Why did you choose to support this project?
“It appealed to both myself and my husband for very personal reasons, but more importantly we are true believers in the power of educating communities and empowering women, in particular, to improve their lives. And in the power of architecture and space to promote education, new skills (such as project management and negotiation skills) and even better, health.”

3. What moved you most about the visit?
“Meeting the women (as well as Carina and the woman…who is the construction expert) and seeing the pride and happiness in their eyes as they walked us through their houses and showed us the work they did. And the confidence they gained in being able to improve their families’ lives. And how they are empowered also to draw and read architectural drawings and negotiate with men that helped them in certain parts of the project. The positive impact of the exceptional work and passionate advocacy of Arquitetura na Periferia goes beyond a new bathroom, tiles in the kitchen, fixing leaks, and building better accommodations for their kids. It’s self affirming and it extends to the local communities (for instance, the women built a care center for kids).”

4. Why is it important to support initiatives such as this one in Brazil?
“Enormous. In a country like Brazil with all its economic and social problems, your donation goes further. The needs are at times staggeringly and scarily basic from the perspective of those of us living in large urban centers in the US. Just as importantly, empowering women and minorities is a cause that needs support and resources around the world.”

Organizations like Arquitetura na Periferia are able to continue to work towards their mission because of supporters like Paulo. Want to find a project to support? Browse our grantee map to learn more about the work of hundreds of organizations transforming communities across Brazil, then contact BrazilFoundation at