5by20 is a Coca-Cola backed initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women by 2020. This involves providing improved access to training, finance and networking opportunities. 5by20 involves participants in more than 200 countries. Over the past several years our production team has travelled the globe from India to the US to Africa to highlight the difference that 5by20 is making in these women’s lives.
One of the most inspiring stories we have produced is that of Brazilian recycling entrepreneur Lea de Almeda Rocha Serra. It’s the story of a woman living in challenging circumstances who overcame serious depression to provide employment for her community while working to provide an elegant solution to ecological problems.
About the Lea de Almeida Rocha Serra Story
Lea de Almeida Rocha Serra lives with her family in City of God, a notorious favela in Rio de Janeiro with a reputation for violence and drugs. While there have been significant improvements in the lives of the local residents conditions are still challenging and there is significant work that needs to be done.
The community is faced with continuing challenges of security, employment and education. The challenges of living in the Favela cumulated with the death of Lea’s son, resulting in her becoming deeply depressed.
In 2006 she found a way to overcome that depression through producing handcrafts made from plastic PET bottles. What began as hobby transformed into a full time business. In order to grow the business she requested and received support from local bottler Coletivo. Her business now employs ten local woman and has transformed Lea’s sense of self-worth and financial independence.
While the overt message of this mini-documentary are the innovative local based solutions to recycling and female entrepreneurship, at its heart it was a deeply emotional and personal story. By filming the story at Lea’s home and factory we were able to gain a sense of the place and the people. We wanted to show how empowering people in the community to find local solutions unique to their situation could transform their lives
You can see the finished video here: