Arca do Saber, training in the heart of a São Paulo favela


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One of the oldest favelas in São Paulo, the Arca do Saber association helps disadvantaged youth. Education, health, social support and vocational training are all addressed to offer these young people “the chance of a better future”. Solidarity AccorHotels and the teams at the Brazilian head office have supported the actions of Arca do Saber for over a year.

A strong need for education within the Vila Prudente favela

São Paulo is the economic capital of Brazil. The richest state in the country, it has a diversified economy combining agriculture, industry and services. São Paulo has a population of 21 million. It is the third largest urban area in the world. However, even today, more than 2 million people live in the favelas. The Vila Prudente villa, where Arco do Saber has been based for over 15 years, is one of the city’s oldest. 15,000 people, more than half of whom are children, live there in very precarious conditions. 

Most of the parents of Vila Prudente did not have a secondary education themselves. The education system often fails the population and many children are left to themselves, roaming the streets of the favela. Without any education, they are bound to follow the same path as their parents before them: the informal labour sector, outside the system. 

To deal with this situation, the Franco-Brazilian NGO, “Arca do Saber”, welcomes 120 children aged 6 to 15 every day after school. It covers three areas: child protection, the general development of children, of their knowledge, personality and self-esteem and the development of family and community ties.

A long-term vision, via vocational training

In 2106, to offer young people career guidance and support in finding a job, the association developed a new project: the creation of a vocational training centre. The objective? To allow young adults of the Vila Prudente to access quality training and rapidly find a job in the hotel-catering or baking sector.

Solidarity AccorHotels financially supports the creation of this training centre to accompany 60 young people from the favela. In parallel, the teams at the Group’s head office in Sao Paulo are committed to the project, offering technical support through their involvement in the work and in the co-design of hotel-catering and baking training courses.

“Supporting a project like Arca do Crescer means giving your best to make sure these young people receive good vocational training. I’m happy to participate with the AccorHotels teams as a volunteer, which is essential for the project!” explains Claudia Faria Da Silva, assistant Managing Director of AccorHotels in South America. 

To make this project a success, 8 AccorHotels employees from head office are involved and participate for a day in the construction of a new centre and to make their special contribution. Discover their stories in the pictures below:

Last 25th of November, Arca do Saber has inaugurated the training center... which will receive the first youth before the end of the year!