The Institute works in support of the local development of areas in which it operates (Southern Zone, which gathers around 1.5 million people and is one of the poorest and most violent areas in the city São Paulo). Instituto Rukha works with local communities, NGOs, private and public sector organizations, and citizens, bringing them together to work in tandem toward a common goal of maximizing efficiency and savings on overlapping investments.
Rukha directly influences the lives of 594 children, youngsters and their families through the Virada Social Project, and, indirectly, the lives of over 3,000 children and youngsters by supporting the following projects: Casa do Zezinho, Capão Cidadão, Êxodos Library, and Presidente Café Filho State School.
Virada Social is the main project run by the Rukha Institute. Its objective is to contribute to the eradication of child labor, to send children to school and complementary educational activities and
to promote the economic and social autonomy of their families through the development of potentialities and building life projects.
In December 2005, the Rukha Institute mapped child labor at stoplights in São Paulo, and found that the majority of children working there were from the Southern zone, now the institute's targeted area of action. The Rukha Institute proposed a four-year partnership with the families of these children. In return for families assuring that their children would be off the streets, the Institute offered to give the families financial and social aid.
The Virada Project offers aid to at lead R$350 (three hundred and fifty reais) per family in addition to constant monitoring by a team of educators from the Rukha Institute who promote human and professional development, citizenship activites and income generation. The project presently reaches 102 families, and over one year of oeration managed to get 95% of children out of child labor.