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Tia Dag

Journalism by Tia Dag

Video: a reformed drug dealer speaks


Casa do Zezinho provides children in one of São Paulo's favelas with a safe place to learn and play

Brazilian journalist, Ana Aranha, has produced a video blog in which Tia Dag, director of the Brazilian NGO and school, Casa do Zezinho, interviews one of her ex students, known as Nene.

Killings ignored by media


I am growing worried about the rise of murders in our neighbourhood. This entire past month we keep hearing stories of the multiple murders of six or seven men each weekend.

“He drank himself to death”


A view of a hillside favela in Brazil

This was a sad week for us. The father of two of our zezinhos [students] drank himself to death. Officially pronounced dead of cirrhosis, the disease had grown worse on account of the lack of medical care in public hospitals.

Prejudice against America blinded me


Tia Dag addresses students at the University of San Francisco

In the first week of May I was invited by the University of San Francisco to give a lecture on how we run Casa do Zezinho. I was supposed to give a long talk to undergraduate students majoring in Latin American Studies, but I ended up subverting the planned class structure.

Massage used as tool to break cycle of violence


Imagine working an eight-hour shift, spending four hours a day on crowded buses and coming home to a cramped, enclosed space where the air does not flow properly and where ten people share a space that under the best of conditions should house five.

Children’s drawings reveal violence at home


There is an unspoken law of silence in the slums that makes people keep these matters to themselves. This jarring contrast has made me think about how the root of violence is intricately related to a lack of sincere communication.

Students set the punishment for gang of bullies


“It is clear to me that the best way to help our youth rise out of this marginal existence and to stay out of gangs is to listen to what they have to say and to show trust in their ever independent development.”

Discussion diffuses favela gang violence


Although we work with a lot of children at the Casa do Zezinho who hail from violent backgrounds, we had never encountered serious hostility among the zezinhos [students] until this year. Unfortunately, we recently witnessed the first ever emergence of a gang-like group.

Plans show vision for new favela pre-school


Plans for the Casinha, or “Little House”, reveal the new favela pre-school to be built at Casa do Zezinho. Six hundred children between three and six years old will attend classes in the three-storey building.

Favela pre-school gives children a place to dream


My new project to expand Casa do Zezinho is building the Casinha (“Little House”). We are planning a three-storey building near the school where 600 children aged between three and six can spend the day.

Tia Dag