Domitila Barros – Out of a favela into the world as a social entrepreneur and activist

Domitila Barros is a power woman and a real bundle of energy. The German-Brazilian has come a long way in her life and has always carried her homeland with her. Today, she successfully runs the social fashion and jewellery label, which focuses on sustainability and currently finances the livelihoods of twelve families in the favela where she herself grew up.

Domitila Barros – Out of a favela into the world as a social entrepreneur and activist

The self-confident ARTivist Domitila Barros, comes from a Brazilian favela and learned the hard side of life on the streets at an early age. In order to be able to escape from the violent everyday life, her parents sent her to dance and acting lessons at the age of seven. The theatre school was a social street children’s project that her parents have been running for over 37 years. The aim is to give the children the opportunity to escape from their hard world through creativity and imagination. To earn her schooling, Domitila started working in her parents’ social street children project when she was 13 years old. She taught the children there to read and write. To make learning more fun for herself and her “pupils”, she worked out creative plays from the learning texts and rehearsed them with the street children. To this day, Domitila is involved in this street children’s project of her parents and has a very emotional connection to her favela and the local people.


In 2000, at the age of 15, Domitila was honoured by UNESCO as a “Millennium Dreamers” because of her great commitment to her parents’ street children’s project. From all over the world, “little everyday heroes” between the ages of eight and 15 were invited to the International Children’s Congress in Orlando, Florida. There, the children presented their social and engaging deeds at the Walt Disney World Resort. For Domitila, this moment felt like a big door opener into the world.  The open and communicative cheerful nature maintains many of the contacts she made there to this day.


Domitila is socially very committed and does everything she does with heart and passion. She therefore does a lot at the same time. But she loves chaos. Today she works as an actress and is in demand as a model. Few people know that she was the manager of a football club a few years ago and worked with players like Neymar. Everything Domitila does, she does with conviction. The impact on her environment is very important to her. She remains authentic and shows herself in social media as she is. For Domitila, social media is a practical and very powerful tool. It not only offers the chance to keep in touch with family and friends in the world, but also offers the opportunity to draw attention to problems in the world or to appeal for more sustainability and social commitment. Domitila has been active in social media for twelve years and always maintains personal contact with her more than 85,000 followers. For her, it is less important to get many likes, but honest likes from the right people who like Domitila and what she does. – Social Entrepreneur

When she founded seven years ago, Domitila had no idea where it would take her. The label, set up as a social entrepreneurship, produces sustainable jewellery and fashion items and ships them around the globe. Single mothers from their home favela in Brazil make the jewellery designed by Domitila and thus finance their families’ livelihoods. 10% of the sales go to her parents’ street children project in Brazil. Domitila herself works as a volunteer for and earns her living as an actress, model and business coach.

Domitila is a strong personality who knows what she can do and always gives space to her ideas. Most of her ideas arise when she talks to people. In doing so, she does not distinguish what title or social status the person has. Whether a manager or a homeless person; there is no difference for Domitila. Every year she flies to Brazil, visits friends and family and supports her parents’ local street children project. In our podcast, she tells us how she deals with rejections, why she approaches her projects with an open mind and what her attitude to failure is.


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