Kaylane da Silva Araújo is a 15-year-old girl from Recife, a city in northeast Brazil. Her parents are separated. “I suffered a lot from their separation, but I think they are happy that way,” she writes. She now lives with her mother and brother.
Kaylane is studying sanitation at a public technical school in Recife. Outside of school, she’s part of her church choir and loves sports, with several athletic awards to her name.
“I am a very dreamy girl and I do not give up on my dreams. It makes me who I am, because I do not care much for the opinion of others. If I want something, I strive to achieve it, because things do not come easily to black girls,” she writes. “Girls like me and many black girls all over the world face difficulties everyday — the worst are poverty, violence and racism. We have to learn to defend ourselves from bad people. We need to fight for our lives and our dreams.”
Although black Brazilians make up a majority of the country’s population, they face disproportionate institutional and systemic challenges: black Brazilians earn less than their white counterparts, score less on indicators such as literacy and life expectancy, and black teens are almost three times more likely to be killed than white Brazilian teens.
Another difficult reality faced by teenage girls in Brazil is the high incidence of sexual assault and gender-based violence. In 2016, a video of a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly gang-raped was widely shared on social media and made headlines, calling attention to sexual assault in the country. Although most rapes go unreported, about 40,000 cases were reported in the country in 2014.
My day was certainly better than yesterday. My best friend came home and I went to pick her up at the bus stop.
My mother asked us to go to the supermarket to buy ingredients to make a cake. But before that, we visited my old school. I met some friends and teachers there and this made my day.
I woke up at 9:30 a.m., but I confess that I stayed in bed for 20 minutes more with a bit of laziness to get up. In the afternoon, after a healthy lunch, my friend and I talked a lot. Soon after, my cousin came to visit us and we called another friend of mine to stay with us. He brought a movie, but the television did not work, so we could not watch it. Even so we do not stop having fun!
At the end of the afternoon they went away and at night I went to the church. I arrived at 9 p.m. I snacked and rested a little. It′s now 11 p.m., I′m tired and my day is ending. Tomorrow will be another long day again. Kisses.
With love, Kaylane
I spent a lot of time without writing between July and August, didn’t I? So much has happened, time has passed so quickly. These days I went to the church, to the doctor, to my aunt’s house and finally I tried to solve problems at school. I did a lot. I barely stopped at home.
I cannot stop thinking about the interview I’m going to make for the American newspaper. I was thinking that I need to choose nice clothes for the pictures, right?
These days my mother is working as a nanny taking care of a little boy. He stays at home with us while his mother leaves to work. He studies at the same school as my brother. When they are together here at home they make a lot of noise.
Changing the subject, I really like music. If I hear a song I already know, I’ll start singing. I like any musical style, however, I prefer romantic and electronic music. I’ll tell you more about it later, because I need to do my nails now. I’ll write more later. Kisses.
With Love, Kaylane.
Rio’s favela ballerinas (Al Jazeera)s