Brazil: Lafarge renovates the largest favela in South America


Lafarge Brazil has developed a program designed to renovate Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil, located in Rio de Janeiro. Our Brazilian team offers residents housing models to improve their homes, training sessions on construction trades and microcredits!



  • Improve housing in the favela of Rocinha, located in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
  • Gives the means to the inhabitants to renovate their homes.


With its 100.000 inhabitants, Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil and even South America. It is also a veritable "city within the city" with its 25,000 homes on a hillside on the heights of Rio. Living conditions are difficult: built by unskilled labor without technical assistance and excluded from public interventions and building regulations governing the formal city, these homes suffer from ventilation, light and sanitary problems.

Lafarge Brazil decided to act! In partnership with the social entrepreneurship consulting firm Inova Urbis, the architecture university of Rio and microcredit organization Social Cred, our Brazilian teams have launched a project to help the people of Rocinha to renovate their homes: redistribution of the rooms, improved sealing and ventilation, extension, etc.

The principle? A package of three services:

  • Training in masonry skills, provided by Lafarge and Inova Urbis. They allow people to transform themselves parts of their home in the rules of art. Some sessions were even reserved for women of all ages.   (PS: we know this is an expression but we fear that in other languages, such as Portuguese, this may be interpreted differently)
  • 10 house standard templates, adjusted to various criteria including the degree of renovation needed for the home concerned and the investment capacity of its inhabitants. After a study of Architecture and Urbanism department of the University of Rio de Janeiro (FAU/UFRJ), people receive the improvement plan best suited to their situation.
  • Microcredit: the inhabitants of the favela have sufficient income to invest in the renovation. To encourage them, Lafarge and Inova designed a line of credit and are the intermediaries between the people and Social Cred, a financial institution that provides credit.


The project led on 178 homes in Rocinha is the first pilot in the Group. Ten of them were pre-selected for the project first interventions. The long-term ambition is to extend this project to other areas of the city and throughout Brazil.