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Published on Apr 19, 2010
Panmela Castro is the recipient of the 2010 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for Human Rights. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards honor and celebrate women leaders who are working to strengthen democracy, increase economic opportunity and protect human rights around the world. In 2006, the first and only law was passed in Brazil to affirm every womans right to live free of domestic violence. Named for Maria da Penha who had been beaten so severely by her husband that she is now paralyzed, this law is a quantum leap forward in a country with a long history of violence in the home. Even so, too many women remained uninformed about the law and didnt understand how to access its protections. A law that isnt known has the same impact as no law at all. Panmela felt compelled to take Marias story into the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Along with other young women artists, musicians, and producers, she formed Artefeito to educate and inform women of their rights under the law. At workshops throughout the favelas, these women come together to beautify their communities with murals that serve as a constant reminder of the safety and security that every woman deserves.