Rita Conceição, Director of Bahia Street, reflects: “My mother made cigars in her town, Muritiba. She could only write her name. My father was raised by an aunt whose parents were slaves. My parents were childhood sweethearts. I was born a year after they were married, the first of ten children, eight of whom lived. Our house was made of clay. When we moved in, everyone lived in one room."
"All night father would fish for our food. All of us kids helped him pass the tests so he could get a better job. We also worked at mother’s family’s newsstand.”
Rita was the first in her family to graduate from college. Then she worked as an
interpreter for Margaret Wilson, who was doing anthropological research in the favelas where Rita grew up.
“We were both Aquarians so we’d go swimming in beer at the bar and talk about problems that blacks, women and girls face. We had lots of ideas about what could be done. From those conversations Bahia Street was born, to supplement the school program for 40 girls between the ages of eight and 15."