Poverty and violence are a daily fact in Mangueira. The favela is dominated by a powerful drug gang, that’s fighting a constant war with the police and other gangs. It means that shootouts take place almost daily in Mangueira. Sometimes so fierce that children can’t leave their homes to come to the project. Because of this violence, many children are traumatized. Many have lost family members or have parents who are in the drug gang, in prison or in prostitution.
Some children get little or no food at home, others live in drug shelters or have to share a small house with many people. Generally, the biological father is not present. Therefore, mothers have to work away from home for long days. They hardly have time to take care of their children. As a result, the children are a lot of time on the streets, where education isn’t valued at all. On top of that, parents, who are mostly uneducated, generally don’t stimulate education either. To earn ‘easy’ money, many boys join the drug gangs. Some girls go into prostitution at a young age.
Children who go to public schools receive a horrible education. Unlike expensive private schools in well-to-do neighborhoods, the free public schools in the favelas are dramatically bad. For example, 27% of teachers are chronically absent. Valuation figures for the schools in Rio de Janeiro are significant: 3.4 on a scale of 10. As a result, students are far from achieving the required level to enter the formal labor market.