The Alagados Project began in 2005 when Sylvia Johnson received a Fulbright grant to spend a year in Salvador, Brazil teaching photography to youth and making a film. She developed a Literacy through Photography course that enabled youth from the community to tell their own stories and directed/produced a short documentary film that tells the story of a young ex-criminal turned percussion drummer who dreams of building a better future. The film, Alagados was an official selection at various film festivals in the US and Brazil, was nominated for an award at the International Documentary Association, and went on tour with Mountainfilm World Tour where it screened at places across the country, including National Geographic. Today the Alagados Project has grown to include an international exchange program that brought Afro-Brazilian music and dance workshops to communities in the US in conjunction with screenings of the film, and a college scholarship fund. In June of 2009, The Alagados Project was officially established as a 501c3 non-profit organization.