Beating Drugs and the Odds

Beating Drugs and the Odds

Geisiel, 21, abandoned his dangerous life as a begging, drug-taking Rio de Janeiro street kid to build a better life for his own two kids. (VJMovement)

Geisiel, now 21 and father of two, has a home and a job, but it wasn’t always this way. Geisiel was a street kid, one of the many abandoned or runaway children who live on the dangerous streets of Rio. This video from Brazil recounts his story from early childhood when his father’s death led to poverty and homelessness, through his years as de facto leader of a group of 20 street children, to his present simple home life.

After ten years of living under bridges and in sewers, Geisiel left behind an existence of begging and doing drugs to move outside the city and live a changed life. His transformative moment was the birth of his son in 2007, when he decided it was more important to “build a place for me and my family.”

As a result of the crack epidemic, many of Geisiel’s former “street family” are said to be dead or dying, but we witness their experience only through Geisiel’s narrative. The video uses still photos of a younger Geisiel hanging out with his friends and footage of other youths on the street to illustrate the larger situation. His ability to rise above his past circumstances is attributed to his leadership qualities and determination, even in the face of a leukemia diagnosis.

CHANNEL: VJ Movement

Length: 6:51

By Raphael Durao and Chantal James