Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Camp with CUFA's All STAR streetball legend Jay "Boogie"

CUFA USA's Los Angeles team spent an afternoon with the kids from Venice B-ball camp today. The b-ball camp focuses on teaching street basketball fundamentals and techniques to kids ages 5-12 years old,  and although 120 kids were present, it was so fun and so NOISY that it sure felt like we had double the amount of kids in the gym!
It is always incredible to be reminded just how important the relationship the coaches share with the campers is and how these role models can really bring joy and hope to them. We successfully fulfilled our primary goal to use activities such as sports as a tool both to relate  to and reach the kids, get to know them and make sure that we see a smile on each and every child's face.
Jay Boogie is the man behind the smiles, CUFA USA's motivational speaker, mentor and ALL STAR player from the world famous HOOPTAINERS.
The fact that the man has mad game is notable within seconds after the ball reaches his hands, he can sport so many tricks in a 20 second time frame that anyone watching is left without words, and not to mention dizzy from just watching his ball disappearance tricks!!!
What many might not know is that the South Central LA native has his hear set on giving back, knowing the difficulties associated with growing up in a poor community inspires him to reach out and make a difference.
And that wrapped up a day filled with new friendships, big smiles and renewed self-esteem!

Invited by CUFA, Brazil Presidential Candidates will go to the FAVELAS (Slums, Ghettos) to present their proposals to the people

Democracy and the Slums

CUFA, Central Union of the Slums invites all residents of The City of God, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as in the prior elections, to welcome the 2010 Presidential Candidates. This is a time where the community will hear each party's proposal and have an opportunity to address and discuss their social problems as well as have a chance to come up with their own counter-proposals.

It is important to highlight that CUFA exercises this initiative for more than 15 years. It is in this same " Favela", portuguese word meaning Slum, that we have received many other Candidates, such as Geraldo Alckmin, Fernando Gabeira, Eduardo Paes, Jandira Feghali, Cesar Maia and even current Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva among others that at the time pleaded for their space within the world of politics. With that being said, CUFA invites the candidates for a democratic gathering of which the purpose concentrates on narrowing the gap of the relationship between the Rio de Janeiro Favela communities and the Presidential Candidates of Brazil. The gathering will take place at CUFA's City of God Branch located at: rua José Arimatéia, nº 90.

So far the following candidates have already confirmed their attendance, Marina Silva and Dilma Roussef, whose parties did not hesistate to publicize their appearance, also Plínio Sampaio. Both Marina Silva and Dilma Roussef openly notified through their official twitters that they will be present at the City of God.

Candidates invited:
Plínio Arruda Sampaio (confirmed), Marina Silva (confirmed), Dilma Roussef (confirmed), and José Serra ( awaiting confirmation).

Friday, July 9, 2010


Victims of the Rio de Janeiro Floods and mudslides receive cement donation

CUFA, Central Union of the Slums of Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with the State of Rio de Janeiro, participated this Wednesday July 7, 2010 in a event at a Rio neighborhood school Joao Ayres Saldanha, where twelve tons of cement was given to the families affected by the floods and mudslides that occured earlier this year. 70 families were iniatially registered to receive the help, but the donations went beyong expectation and aid reached more than 150 families with each family receiving 120 kilos. The figures were recorded at the time of the event.

Present at the event was Carolina Figuereido of Chrevron, the company donating the cement, Marina Pombo from Firjan the company mediating the donation, and Allen Borges the Superintendent of Youth Public Policies, representating the Government of Rio. Also there were Nega Gizza and MV Bill along with the reperesentatives of CUFA.

According to Chevron's Social public relations coordinator, Carolina Figueredo, CUFA had an important role in the intermediation, serving as a fundamental partner in the area of registering the families in need, " Without CUFA, we would not have been able to reach these families that needed help." concluded Carolina, adding that she hopes that the cement provided simbolizes hope, and a new beginning for the families.

Firjan- Federation of the Industries of the state of Rio de Janeiro, was represented by the coordinator of social relations Mariana Pombo who stated " Firjan's role here is to promote and build an awareness for the industries of Rio de Janeiro to create programs and social actions within the state." MV Bill and Nega Gizza spoke about the importance of the cement donation being more than an act, but rather a solution,one more way to ease the suffering of the families that were victims to the floods." The government representative, Allen Borges said that " this is not just a cement donation, it represents hope." One of the recepients of the aide, Ronald Oliveira, shared that he received 3 bags of cement, a very gratifying help for someone who was left with nothing.
This was another event that showed the importance and power of CUFA's mobilization within the society, reiterating our role and commitment to the society to provide citizenship, education, culture and sports to the less fortunate.

By: Cristiana Richard
Photos: Luciano Gomes
Translation: CUFA USA

Monday, July 5, 2010


Last Saturday May 26th, The LIIBRA European Circuit hosted a street basketball tournament in the city of Vienna, Austria. More than 200 people gathered to watch the event that had the German team as the big winner. In second place was the Austrian team, and the kings of the alpahalts of Italy took home the third spot.
The European Circuit is a preparation for the LIIBRA Worldwide Competition that takes place each year in Brazil, this year from December 2nd-12th in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Stay tuned to the LIIBRA site and check out what is going down in streetball around the world!!!

The tournament began....The battle for the ball is between two players " Baixo", ( For the Blue team jumps Mambro) and the fist meet starts.
The quartet see the court, beyond the legendary captain Puty, Penny e Alby.

Later, at the warm-ups the Blue team heads on. The first meet is about to begin and the try outs of the team's new long distance shots!

(Courtesy of Daniele Magni- CUFA ITALY Coordinator)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CUFA USA participates in US Social Forum 2010

The Social Forum 2010 was held in Detroit, Michingan from June 22nd through the 26th and CUFA USA was there, in one of the poorest cities within the USA, not just  to experience this very positive event, but also to  contribute    with ideas and able hands in order to help this project get a step closer to its ultimate goal.

The purpose of the Forum was not only promote a conference but to serve as movement building process giving opportunity and space for the people to come up with solutions to the economic, social and ecological crisis.

The USSF was an important step in our struggle to build a powerful  multi-racial, multisectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive internationalist movement that can change history. “Detroit is ground zero for the economic crisis facing millions of people, not only in Michigan, but across the nation,” says Maureen Taylor, a US Social Forum staff organizer and chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO).

“There’s nothing better than the opportunity of seeing more than twenty thousand people (20,000) united in a place to talk about realities and solutions to the world’s crisis, that’s amazing,”  Says Felipe Gomes who has been representing CUFA USA in the event.

Detroit is a spectacular example of devastation, poverty, and economic problems. A city that shows everyone a beautiful downtown with huge buildings and a peaceful lake where you can see Canada,   but directly across on the other side is a city which is becoming a ghost town because it has been forgotten by the ones who should really should care for it, the Government of the Unites States of America. But at the same time is also a  wonderful  example of the power of community. Communities like Georgia Street, which in the middle of the mass is surviving from their own community garden, education, help from their association and most importantantly their honest will to make it better and never give up! 

That’s how Detroit still manages to keep up the rest of what was one day considered a good place to live. Because all of this situation, Detroit City was one of the biggest issues and examples within the US Social Forum 2010.
Aspects like recycle, community service, economy,  social movements, going green, urbanism, security, justice were examples brought to table and discussed in the USSF. It gave an opportunity for everyone in the workshops, in the meetings, even in the corridors to show the  realities that they experieced around the world, allowing for new solutions that will prepare for the new challegenges that coming up. A gigantic exchange of experiences.

CUFA USA was represented by Felipe Gomes sharing its powerful name through logo display and its purpose with all the atendees and organizations present at the in the USSF.  It was a good opportunity to demonstrate that we are already in the US and that we intend to do something really helpful and important for  the American people. It was also a great opportunity  to meet people and develop strong partnerships. There’s no better place to do something like this that at a Social Forum. It is wonderful that people were coming and asking me about CUFA and about our activities, demonstrating  open minds and without any reservations talking about a better world!  That’s the feeling that we get when we really care of our people!” says Felipe Gomes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CUFA USA - Michigan hosted a Community Poetry Workshop

CUFA USA - Michigan hosted a Community Poetry Workshop at a public city school with renowned poet, dramatist and film maker Kareemah El Amim. El Amin is a very influential name in the field of social projects linked to poetry, art and music.

This was an excellent opportunity to introduce CUFA, not only to Kareemah, but also to the community in general allowing a space for development of new and bigger contacts.

We were invited by Kareemah to attend a poetry audition taking place next week, where we will give continuity to the conversations we began today where she demonstrated much motivation and affirmed that it will be a great pleasure to contribute to the promotion of other activities along with CUFA USA.

This is another opportunity facilitating creative development and expression for the youth of the United States of America, with a foundation built of not just amazing teamwork between CUFA USA and dedicated Artists such as Kareemah, but more importantly with the mission to open up a window of hope for youth of less fortunate communities to naturally develop their creativity and consequently hope and belief that “You CAN do anything you set your mind too.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Together We Can Make A Difference!

                                                           CUFA USA - LOS ANGELES 

Yesterday, CUFA USA's Los Angeles branch hosted CUFA USA’s 1st Annual Favela Fundraiser , it was a great event for families of all ages, where the communities came together to enjoy live music, CAPOcufa, Pagode de Mesa with Renato Cupim from Sambajah, Soccer Clinic for kids with Coach Luis Dos Santos, B-ball fun 
with  Jay “Boogie“ from the Hooptainers  Basketball Team,  and LIVE Graffiti Art Show with guest artist Ray Robledo,
We'd like to thank everyone who participated.   Together We Just Made History! 

Monday, June 7, 2010


United States T.V show I MUSIC talks about CUFA, MV BILL and NEGA GIZZA

CUFA USA’s Brazilian Culture Festival 2010

CUFA - (Central Única das Favelas) is a Brazilian Non-Profit Organization that works with youth providing opportunity and hope for people of Slum communities. Through many projects in areas of education, culture, sports and arts, CUFA reaches out to more than 50,000 youth within Brazil, and most recently in 2009, the organization crossed the oceans and initiated CUFA International in many countries. We would like to invite you and all your friends to kick off CUFA USA’s 1st Annual Favela Fundraiser. Come out and support an organization that takes help to where it is really needed. Learn more about CUFA: http://www.cufa.org.br

SUNDAY JUNE 13TH, 2010 @   12:00-5:00PM
303 Pacific Coast Hwy (corner of PCH & 3rd)
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 

Come and join us for a Family Fun day filled with Brazilian Culture. Food, music and recreational activities!
  • Brazilian Churrasco/Bbq , Aҫai, Guaraná,
  • CapoCUFA (capoeira), Pagode de Mesa with Renato Cupim from Sambajah,                Brazilian DJ Izael, Samba Show with Casa do Samba Drummers and Dancers
  • Soccer Clinic for kids with Coach Luis Dos Santos- 2:30-3:30pm,
  • B-ball fun with Jay “ Boogie “ from the Hooptainers -12:00-2:00pm
  • LIVE Graffiti Art Show with guest artist Ray Robledo, Prize giveaways & raffles

Volunteers are welcome! 

To support please email: 

or call:
 (314)497- 2167

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The CUFA - Central Única das Favelas

      CUFA - Central Única das Favelas (Central Union of Slums)  is an institution recognized internationally within the political, sportive, social and cultural spheres. It is a product of the union between the youth from various poor communities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created with the purpose to allow them the opportunity to share their talents, ideas, social attitudes, and simply their will to live.
      Among the founders is MV BILL, Brazilian Rapper and advocate for social respect who was also recognized by UNESCO as one of the 10 most active militants of the world in the last 10 years. Another one of the organization’s founders is singer Nega Gizza, a strong feminine reference and role model. Known and respected by her devotion to social causes, Gizza is the president of the International Street Basketball League and director of documentaries such as: “ Sou Sou”, and “ Obra Prima”.

      Cufa is present on all of the 27 Brazilian states, equipping more than 50,000 youth through programs and projects offered in various areas.

      In 2009 CUFA crossed the oceans and initiated the international branches in countries such as: Germany, Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal, and the United States of America.

     CUFA became known internationally through its sports. LIIBRA, The International Street Basketball League and Reis da Rua, Street Kings, took the Harlem Globe Trotters and the Chilean and American National Street teams to Brazil to dispute for the Street Basketball World Title.

     2009 was the first annual “Viradão Esportivo”, a sports marathon that consists of two days dedicated to recreation and sports held at street parks, gymnasiums, and public gathering spaces.

       Within Brazil, CUFA has stood out for taking big festivals to suburb communities such as the anniversary of Rio de Janeiro to be celebrated in The City of God for two consecutive years, and also Labor Day to Nova Iguacu and New Year’s Eve to the Baixada Fluminence.

       Today CUFA is a prominent entity recognized for promoting Festivals and Events like the HUTUZ, the biggest Rap music festival of Latin America which happens each year in November in Rio de Janeiro. The event features cinematography, debates, performances and vast variety of activities all linked to the Hip-Hop theme. Other festivals like Brandan, Brasil Break Dance and RPB ( Pop Rap Music) are tournaments where competitors dispute for municipal, state and national titles.

       Cine-CUFA, is a film festival catering exclusively to projects produced by members of the favelas as well as from other low income neighborhood communities.

       Among the many new projects is the ANU, designed to identify and give public recognition to the initiatives geared toward the social and cultural equilibrium. Samba de Rua, in English Samba in the Streets is a festival with the intention to reveal new talents and launch new artists within the Brazilian music genre.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

CUFA USA Opens a new branch in Los Angeles

CUFA USA just opened a new base in Los Angeles, California.

The organization is teaming up with Brazilian Cultural Entity Casa do Samba to launch community projects starting in June 2010.

CUFA USA - LA is hosting the First Annual Brazilian Music Benefit this Summer. The music festival will feature performances by respected Brazilian Musicians, local Brazilian artists and upcoming talents.

The organization kicks off offering a variety of programs in the areas of Sports, Music, Dance, Capoeira and Art all with a Brazilian Cultural Influence.

Casa do Samba is directed by Israel and Bia Ferreira a well known couple from the Brazilian Community of Los Angeles.

Casa do Samba is a Brazilian Samba School that takes pride in preserving the authentic beats and sounds of the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval Batucada and the Enredo, the history of Samba as is told by the lyrics of the music.

What many might not know about Casa do Samba is that it is actually a product of twenty years of devotion and dedication that started in 1989 with MILA Samba School, the first Samba School ever founded

in Los Angeles. The founder Luizinho Ferreira is Israel’s father and known as pioneer of the Brazilian music community for having brought many Brazilian Musicians to LA to perform and work at MILA.

Artists like Beth Carvalho the “Madrinha” or “Godmother” of the school, members of Pagode Group Fundo de Quintal, So Preto, and percussionists and singers from the most popular Samba schools of Rio all shared the stage with the school on many occasions. Israel and Bia grew up at MILA’s rehearsals and events.
The name Casa do Samba has a very important meaning, it is the insurance that Samba, the music that is the foundation of what makes up Brazilian Culture will always have a home.  Casa do Samba is where Samba lives!

The two organizations unite to use as many instruments and resources available to accomplish the shared vision of community involvement and outreach. The programs will be available to the community starting Summer 2010.

We invite anyone interested in contributing or volunteering to help make this happen to please contact us at: bia.cufausa.la@gmail.com

CUFA without Borders!

By Felipe Gomes
CUFA USA - Sustainable Business and Innovation

Hello everyone!

From April 09 to May 11 I’ve had the opportunity to experience the current reality of most Central American countries.

With a Social look and not with a Tourist look I could see several realities that coalesce and form a chain of different social classes, which often are incompatible in the current socio economic realities of such countries.

The trip plan was to go in thirty days through the following countries of Central America: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala then to finish in Belize a Caribbean country.

The primary objective was to bring these countries into a socio economic and cultural benefit to the real needs that were raised and studied, making it easier to creating solutions for short or long term and implement effective actions in the near future.

The transport used most often was the public transportation. Sometimes, even cross borders. With it was possible to make the travel cheaper and at the same time to be closer to the everyday life of local people being included in their reality.

In Costa Rica, the buses in the capital San Jose and surrounding cities are very similar to municipal bus from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, however, to begin to rise for other countries the situation changes quite precarious and transportation is increasingly evident.

In "Chicken” buses and cars with poor condition in most cases, the population of the countries of Central America moves every day, whether in rural or urban, to keep their sources of low incomes and continue fighting the furor by a government failed and absent in lower social classes, those that require more assistance.

Walking through very poor neighborhoods and isolated communities it’s possible to follow the struggle for survival of people who still follow many interesting cultures and beliefs which in most cases is Maya! Therefore one of the more common occupations is still a craftsman, seamstresses and many other crafts that become a source of income.

The food is simple and at breakfast the famous "Gallo Pinto (black beans, fried egg or scrambled, fresh cheese, cream and tortillas) leads the requests in the streets, bars and homes. Fruits like mango, banana, watermelon, orange and others are found on every street corner vendors who sell them already peeled and cut for very low prices and contributes to a much more healthy food than many other countries. Generally, in the same places you get delicious juices with the same fruits. The chicken meat is the most consumed and the cheapest one.

The heat is often very strong, even in cities with high altitude, but the work never stops in rural areas. Even on Sundays you will find many workers on the farms of bananas, oranges or other specialty, and working very long hours. At the end of the day they leave to return to their families, take a bucket of cold water to bath and to sleep before everything starts again. Women carry huge baskets and often clay pots on their heads, either with water or fruit and home cakes to sell in the "calles" (streets).

Children put their school uniforms and spend half day in public schools and the other half often working with parents on the streets. In the city of Granada, Nicaragua, more than 2,000 children attend the center for extracurricular activities “Carita Feliz”, that develops something extraordinary forming children better prepared for future challenges and a more open mind, because one of its main functions is to show the range options that life offers. Possibly, a future CUFA’s partner.

Talking to local people, I wondered about the situation in their homes. Often, even without any luxury or even with poor sanitation and poor housing conditions, the fact that they can cook rice and beans every day for their children was sufficient for a modest smile that expressed a discreet happiness of who is not hungry. The food, fortunately is not a major problem.

The lack of policy and conduct of certain governments rather, are a major problem. Corruption is a serious issue in most countries and the lack of good relationship between neighbors countries is also something sad. Already there were often attempts at unification in Central America, but was never actually put into practice. The lack of trust of people in their government is something that frustrates and brings out a feeling of contempt and betrayal. You can see it in people beyond the poverty, they are abused by this lack of morality. Compared to Africa, I conclude that: "Many times the innocence, goes hand in hand with happiness." Because in Africa I could see that even innocent people in politically even in a misery live their days in the best possible way and did not express this lack of morality and disregard what I could see in Central America.

Another major problem found is violence. Nowadays, in cities such as San Salvador in El Salvador or Tegucigalpa in Honduras, are places where the night walking in the streets is out of the question. In San Salvador, 12 people are killed at gunpoint a day. I’m not just talking about slums and desolate places, either because even in Tegucigalpa, in some evening I was in a slum that I didn’t know, alone, walking with all my stuff back and I did not feel afraid, because everything I saw was people were in packed buses, returning from work, or working on the streets for daily bread. However, there are places very rich in these cities to an audience entirely selected which can be as dangerous as others. The lack of government support in areas of risk and the absence of security actions makes most places risk points and always at gunpoint in large cities. Small towns and more tourist are much calmer now, both because tourism is the economic basis of most of these countries. The crimes grow too much and indignation and lack of resources in society is what drives to it.

For this now I get the main point of discussion. The problems are blending and creating a social monster. It is necessary for effectiveness in solving all these problems, whether through education, culture, environment or development, either where they should be treated everyone equally and urgently. Because the violence will not cease to grow if poverty is not controlled. And poverty will never be controlled if corruption is not unmasked. And among many, many other factors that add more and more social diseases that must be treated.

This is the social look that discriminates primary facts to the growth and change in a positive way in underdeveloped countries.

Opportunities can be given and so robbers can build schools, politicians can build an honest and glorious country and children can believe in a better future. Role reversal is required.

CUFA in the U.S discussing Social Impact of Sports

Flavia Caetano, CUFA’s International coordinator and head of the Social Department will be in Atlanta on May 20 and 21st to partake in the “Plan OF Action”. The Plan of Action is a partnership between SEPPIR, (office of public policies and racial equality) and the United States Government, signed in 2008 in favor of the elimination of the ethnic- racial discrimination and the promotion of equality.

The Plan of Action agenda meets twice a year with the board of directors of each government to elaborate on performance strategies, conjuncture analysis and defining of combined actions.

As a part of the trip of May 12 through 21, a group of nine people consisting of directors of public policies, sports, tourism and non-profit representatives, will participate in a Visitor Itinerary Program between Washington and Atlanta, where they will debate the impact of social urban reform for the preparation of the world titles, athletes and sports projects, community organizations, business leaders and social entrepreneurs.

The Itinerary Visitors Program will enable a connection with various institutions with the same profile as CUFA, allowing for discussion concerning the impact that the building and preparations for the Olympic Games and the World Cup will have on the poor. The program is an initiative of the American Government coordinated by the American Embassy of Brazil.

Info.: http://www.cufa.org.br/

Monday, January 25, 2010

the Game


International Challenge Game USA x Brazil - January 9th, 2010