In 2005, Sylvia Johnson received a Fulbright grant to spend a year in Salvador, Brazil teaching photography to youth and making a film. She worked in the impoverished community of Alagados, where access to higher education is but a dream for most people. While there, she met Ubiratan Assis, a musician who was determined to get a college degree and had already passed the vestibular, but was struggling to figure out how to pay for school. Sylvia asked Ubiratan to do the soundtrack for her film. The film, Alagados, screened as an official selection at film festivals in the US and Brazil and was nominated for an award at the International Documentary Association. At film screenings, the audience always asked, "how do you help to changes situations of poverty such as those featured in the film?" We believe it is through education and helping people to help themselves. During a 2008 US screening tour Sylvia and Ubiratan decided to start a college scholarship fund with the donations they were receiving. In June of 2009, The Alagados Project was officially established as a 501c3 non-profit organization.