Update from the Favela Gramacho


By Pedro do Borel – translated

Even in the midst of the conditions we see in Gramacho, Nadia says she sees a garden. It is our job to see this place flourish and change.
After one of our trips in Jardim Gramacho, I came back full of questions, expectations, but also with breakthroughs in the life stories of some girls living there.
The stories were shocking, even though I’m used to hearing many traumatic stories of injustices in our yet wonderful city.
Yesterday, in a completely informal conversation while on outreach, the girls began to tell me their life stories. I found out that one of the girls we’ve been visiting with, only 20 years old is pregnant with her second child. She has 2 husbands, and was kicked out of her house when she was 12 to 13 years old, since then she began to do extremely heavy work, picking up trash, getting water, etc. she kept doing this to care for her mother and the brother.

One girl told a story of how she was sent away from home and had no way to survive other than prostituting herself, living in the house of friends and neighbors, was her only way to survive.

While she was talking, it became apparent that she and her other girlfriends often talked about how Gramcho is a good place to live and to raise a child, without ever realizing that they’ve been exploited, raped, expelled, rebuffed. It is like they don’t know how loved and valuable they are, they deserve a home, clean water and opportunities to go to school.

Getting to know the people of Gramacho – the individual, from the inside out, is going to be a great challenge. But we are excited about the next steps, seeing them more and more.

We have to remember there is Hope.



Hope to Thailand

Written by: Hanne Fellers

Kelly King the 2014 Fashion Hope ambassador and the Founder of Passport 2 Freedom, Hanne Fellers partnered on a trip to highlight some front-line organizations in Thailand.

We visited Zoe Children’s Home in Chiang Mai (www.gozoe.org) Zoe is a faith based organization, they are known for their excellence in how they treat their children, their protection policies and their success rates in all aspects of Human Trafficking work. They do Prevention, Intervention (direct rescues) and aftercare. Zoe has developed a close relationship with state officials and local police, in partnership they work to fight child trafficking in Thailand.
The organization is also very close to founder, Hanne Fellers heart. Zoe is the main organization the proceeds from the sales of the Dance 4 Freedom pants goes towards. During our visit we were able to work on what we ended up calling the “crack project”. Co-founder, Carol Hart had a awesome vision that we were able to see come alive. When the Zoe building was built and the foundation settled, some cracks appeared. They covered them up with cement, but Carol had a great plan for them. The children at Zoe have been through a lot as victims of trafficking or double orphans.

The vision of the “crack project” : The cracks symbolizes the cracks in our lives, it’s easy to want to cover up our faults. When we give our cracks, broken hearts, our faults, our imperfections to God, He can turn them into something beautiful.” Kelly and Hanne got down and dirty. Kelly was using powertools like a champion, we hammered and worked hard to mosaic tile the cracks. And wow, they really turned out amazing. It was great to get to work hard and see the vision alive.

Kelly taught some jewelry wire-wrapping classes at ZOE with the 14-18 year old girls. It was great for the girls to get to learn a skill that potentially can become a work opportunity for them in the future. The girls made themselves multiple earrings, and also a necklace. It was wonderful to see them match beads and colors together, creating unique and beautiful designs. We were so blessed during our time at ZOE. Thank-you for having us, a special thank-you to Jessica, Jenny & Satit and Carol & Mike!

Photos are from the ZOE website because of their media protection policies (Zoe Media may show orphaned or at-risk children, but never trafficked children. To see more photos from ZOE visit www.gozoe.org)

Next we visited Destiny Rescue (www.destinyrescue.org) Destiny Rescue also does prevention, intervention and aftercare. What we got to experience and learn the most about was their aftercare and vocational training programs. They have some really great opportunities for the children to learn a large variety of skills to help them start over. Kelly and Hanne were so blessed to be served by their beautiful girls in the vocational program at their restaurant and coffee shop and to top it off we got a hair-cut, hair-dyed and styling done by the talented girls. Destiny Rescue produces, bags, scarfs and jewelry all made by trafficking survivors. We encourage you to go check out their shop and get some christmas gifts with meaning. Thank-you to everyone at Destiny Rescue, thank-you to Tina and Kate for hosting us. Stay tuned for video from our visit at Destiny coming soon..

Last, but not least we visited “Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women” center (http://www.apsw-thailand.org/Intro.htm) Here we got to visit with the youngest children there. They were so precious and loved the attention. The emergency home takes care of victims of violence and abandonment.

They run vocational programs, clinics and teach about social responsibility. Krissy the owner of (www.ferrocosmetics.com), had sent us off to Thailand with some makeup. We had such a fun day getting to bless the women with some make-up, but most importantly getting to spend some time with them, teaching them that make-up is fun and great, but that true beauty comes from within. Thank-you, Håvard, Pat and Anette for hosting us. We will have a video of our time at APSW soon…

Thank-you to Phunchanit for filming and helping us along the way.


Passport 2 Freedom’s Mission Trip

Photography: Zack Warren

It is safe to say our team was not prepared for what was ahead entering the first favela on our trip, named Borel. We approached what seemed to be a ordinary side road, to then hike straight up a large hill and was suddenly in the favela. We walked into a different world, it looked different, it smelled different but the people were beautiful, filled with life and joy. They were like the other people we had met earlier in the rich areas of Rio such as Botafogo and Copacabana. The difference is that 20 years ago a lot of these people had no documentation such as birth certificates or other identification documents such as Passports or licenses. Today pretty much everyone in this specific favela has I.D’s much thanks to our leaders Pedro and Nadia. Pedro and Nadia have been working over 15 years in this specific favela, they have started many programs to help enrich, educate and keep safe the children of Borel. As Pedro was leading us around in the favela, people would run up to him, to give him a hug and talk with him. He was well-known and loved by everyone. The homes had improvised structures and it was obvious that they were self built. The houses were by no comparison to a lot of the nice neighborhoods in the nice part of Rio such as Barra, but yet we thought they were beautiful. Borel has come a long way and has some great programs in education, arts and music compared to a lot of other favelas.

Our visit to the favela – Gramacho known from the documentary “Waste land” was a whole different experience than Borel. This favela clearly was not as organized as Borel, and there is a huge need for programs. Pedro and Nadia started working in this favela about 3 years ago. They work in 2 different locations.

One of the locations has a building, but there is one area that does not offer any safe-houses, community centers or health clinics. This area is the one we as Passport 2 Freedom feels the strongest passion for to help build a safe-haven/community center/health clinic.

We visited 2 single moms in their self-built home for their babies 1 year old birthday. Nadia explained to us how the fathers of these babies were brutally murdered this past year assumedly from being involved in drug trafficking. The murder rates in this favela is really high. There hasn’t been real documentation or investigation to show the actual numbers of death here yet.

The programs here are focused on education. At the location in Gramacho where there is a building we did a project with the kids, where we found old wood, we spent a lot of time sanding to make the wood smooth and also painting it. Then Pedro taught about recycling. He explained to the kids how we can find things that seem to be garbage to most people, but how we can take it and turn it into something beautiful and useful.

We were also super excited to have well-known tattoo artist Jon Hall
with us. He painted several murals in the favela, and also helped paint
the outside protection wall for the center in Gramacho in collaboration
with a well knows local street artist, named Felipe Carvalho (see
pictures below)

We learned so much from this trip and we are so happy to see the programs running well, and also excited and proud to know Pedro and Nadia more. We believe that we can make a change here starting with helping one child at a time. The need is indeed great.

We’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who has donated towards our Cause. We were able to give out over 700 pieces of baby clothing. 30 Soccer balls and feed all the kids lunch thanks to all the kind donations given from Passport 2 Freedom supporters. We can’t do this without all of our supporters. Again, THANK-YOU!



Dec 3. 2013 – Micky Papa

Check out our exclusive interview with skateboarder Micky Papa

Micky Papa - Skateboarder

Full name: Micky Mariano Papa

Sponsors: Almost Skateboards, Mtn Dew, RDS Apparel, Nixon Watches, Silver Trucks, Fkd Bearings, Bones Wheels, One Love Skateshop, Diamond Hardware, Markisa Wallets and Passport 2 Freedom charity.

How long have you been skating? 11 years

Tell us about your favorite travel: Probably getting the chance to see barcelona about 5 years ago. We rented an apartment with friends and toured the city on our skateboards for an entire month. Hopping the metro and exploring the city, skating and just enjoying the Spanish culture and people.Favorite Quote: "Watch your thoughts, they become your words, watch your words, they become your actions, watch your actions, they become your habits, watch your habits, they become your character, watch your character, it becomes your destiny." - Lao TsuFavorite Song and why: Too many favourite songs out there really. One of my all time favourites is Jimi Hendrix - All along the watchtower. His rendition of bob dylans classic is tasteful and his guitar playing innovation is inspiring. One of my favourite artists and human beings.

Other hobbies? Haha I believe the answer above is a good indication. I love to play guitar.

How long have you been repping P2F Stickers? for about a year now!

What do you know about the Favelas? I know there's a lot of underprivileged families living in them and we need to do everything we can to help out the less fortunate people out there.

Who in your life inspires you and why? I'm inspired by people who I deem to be greats. Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, 2Pac. Anyone who I think lives their lives tastefully and with class. Living with integrity and setting your personal standards high is something you don't see too often in the younger generations. Anyone with great character is an inspiration to me.

Why do you believe in giving to those less fortunate? We don't get to choose where we are born or what we are born into. We should all be thankful that we have as much as we do and we have extra we shouldn't let it go to waste cue someone out there is in need.

Any ideas to encourage youth to get involved with charities? Giving to charities is double sided. You help someone out in need and you give into yourself. Your personal wealth increases ten fold while someones basic needs are met, why wouldn't you want to do it!

Favorite historic figure and why?
One of the 3 inspirations I mentioned earlier. I think it takes someone dedicated to their passion and breaking boundaries takes a life time of training and discipline. Anyone who can achieve that is an inspiration to me and always is remarkable at what they do. Bruce Lee, Hendrix, 2pac are my favourites not only for being great at what they did but for innovating and trying to communicate what they believed through each of their individual art forms. Trying to contribute something to this world. Something meaningful and impactful. Timeless music, disciplined perfection or to motivate the underprivledged and poverty line communities. All great things done by great people in my eyes.

Shout outs: All my sponsors! All my friends and family who've helped me out a long the way anyone who's been generous enough to pay me any attention in the skate industry and help me along pursuing my own dreams. Thanks to Passport 2 Freedom!