Fairy-Tale Night In A Favela

Photos by Silvia Izquierdo

Dressed in long evening gowns, girls from Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta “favela” slum have celebrated a fairy-tale evening in a debutante ball sponsored by local police.

The Week That Was in Latin America Photo GalleryIn this Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 photo, a teenage girl from the Santa Marta “favela” slum exits a police car as she takes the hand of an officer who patrols her neighborhood, as she arrives to Copacabana for a group debutante ball organized by her slum’s Pacifying Police Unit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The ball, which relied on volunteers who coiffed and made up the girls and a formal wear shop that loaned the dresses, helped build goodwill between pacified favelas’ residents and the officers who patrol them. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo) License this photo

The 15-year-old girls were escorted to the ball held in a Copacabana dancehall Friday night, August 29, 2014, by members of the Pacifying Police Unit from their community. The police units have re-conquered slums ruled for decades by drug-dealing gangs.

The girls were coiffed and made up by volunteers, and their dresses were loaned by a formal wear shop.

Brazil Favela Debutante BallTeenage girls from the Santa Marta “favela” slum prepare for their group debutante ball organized by the Pacifying Police Unit from their neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. All of the debutantes turned 15 this year, but few had the means to celebrate the milestone with one of the lavish blowouts that are de rigueur among wealthier Brazilians. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo) License this photo

Debutante balls have been a custom among upper-middle-class and wealthy Brazilian families. They mark a girl’s transition from childhood to adulthood.

The following gallery features images by AP Photographer Silvia Izquierdo.


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Follow Silvia Izquierdo:  Twitter: @sizqui


Lead Image Caption: Jaqueline, right, and Monique take a selfie before their debutante ball organized by the Pacifying Police Unit from their neighborhood, the Santa Marta “favela” slum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Fifteen-year-olds from Santa Marta made their coming out Friday night, escorted by police officers who patrol their communities. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

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2 thoughts on “Fairy-Tale Night In A Favela

  1. Reblogged this on Sunshine's Journey Journal and commented:
    Hey y’all! I just love this article covered by the AP on how these beautiful girls, were able to have their debutante party, despite their economical status. I just wish we could do this for girls like them all over the world. It made me cry. Oh and yea great job with those dashing young policemen, they look fabulous escorting those gorgeous girls. Great way to do some meaningful PR work! Go Brazil!


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