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Football brings hope to favela youth

For Adriel, a football-obsessed 14-year-old from one of Rio de Janeiro’s most troubled favelas, an opportunity to visit the UK and meet some of his sporting heroes is a dream come true, yet he is remarkably level-headed about it.

“This is a chance for me to speak English. I want to learn English so I can communicate with people,” Adriel said, with the seriousness of one who knows what he wants to achieve.

Adriel was one of nine teenage boys and one girl from the Morro dos Prazeres favela who were selected to spend a week in the UK in March as part of a community project that is harnessing a passion for football among marginalised youth to show them that they can break out of a cycle of crime and rebuild their trust in the police.

Very few of the young people who are involved in the Esporte Seguro project in Morro dos Prazeres are likely to realise their dream of becoming professional footballers. But with the World Cup coming to Brazil in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro hosting the 2016 summer Olympics, the organisers hope that the project will give the youngsters the confidence to turn Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa their backs on drugs and crime and Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa embrace the job opportunities that these sporting events promise.

Adriel and his friends have already started to do that. They want to attract tourists to the favela, which commands breathtaking views over the city, and offer guided tours of their community. To do that they will need English, but with little exposure to the language in their daily lives and poor standards of teaching in their school, dreams of becoming speakers remain remote.

Two-thirds of the $6.2m budget behind the Esporte Seguro project comes from the UK’s Premier League football association and the rest from the British Council. The former is sharing its experience running its Kickz community projects in the UK, which get Premiership Authentic Prada Leather Handbag clubs and local police forces working together to help disaffected young people to find ways into education and jobs.

The challenge for Esporte Seguro, which launched last year and will run until 2014, has been Are All Prada Products Made In Italy to overcome deep hostility towards the police in Rio’s favelas. But since December over 280 young people have been attending after-school football practice and community work sessions led by a team of instructors that includes members of the local police force.

For Orlando Bernardo de Silva linked website, a Morro dos Prazeres resident and community worker who is one of the Esporte Seguro coaches, and who accompanied the group visiting the UK, Adriel and his friends may see football as a way to escape from poverty, but Black Leather Prada Milano Purse it is just a Best Prada Outlet In Florence starting point.

“‘We are using football to attract these young people, then we are socialising them. The youngsters from this community live on the margins of society. They live without education, without respect and without dreams, but this project is helping them to have dreams. This is a huge transformation for them. They are staying away from drugs and theft. They are even dreaming of becoming police officers.”

Once a no-go area for the police, Morro dos Prazeres is now one of the favelas targeted under the city-wide UPP “pacification” programme that is seeking to rebuild trust between law-enforcement agencies and residents. The active involvement of police officers in Esporte Seguro, says De Silva, has made the young people rethink their attitudes toward a force that they have grown up to view as an enemy.

The commander responsible for 180 officers who police Morro dos Prazeres, 30-year-old Jeferson Silva Odilon, is also on the trip. He says the combination of UPP and Esporte Seguro has helped to reduce violent crime in the area. But he is most optimistic about how the project has helped to widen opportunities.

“These kids are more disciplined and they are participating in the life of the community. But the main Authentic Prada Bags Online Singapore thing for me is that, for the first time, they prepared to talk to me,” said Odilon.

His involvement in helping the young visitors organise travel documents gave him an insight into the chaotic home backgrounds some of them come from. And, he says, his officers are learning new respect for the community.

Tottenham Hotspur club in north London hosted the Esporte About Prada Products Seguro visitors, but before they were able to Are All Prada Handbags Leather attend a training session with Sandro, the side’s Brazilian midfielder, they were marshalled into an education suite at the White Hart Lane ground for an English language lesson. Sitting at computer screens, the young people were introduced to the British Council Premier Skills English education website, designed to build on the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shop Online worldwide popularity of England’s top-league football to motivate young learners of English.

Hands quickly went up as the students worked through an on-screen game that taught them players’ positions. Michael Houten, who was teaching the session and is also responsible for the site, was impressed by the speed with which complete beginners were acquiring a new vocabulary.

But he says the chances of building up extensive language skills are limited for them in the schools they attend. Rio’s education department has recently launched a city-wide project to improve communication skills in English in advance of the World Cup and Olympics, but the standard of teaching remains an obstacle.

“In schools these kids will have one or two hours of English a week, but there could be 40 in a class and their teachers don’t have confidence using English. They fall back on rote learning in class,” said Houten, who will be returning to Rio for the British Council later this year.

He hopes that he will be able to build on the Esporte Seguro group’s exposure to the Premier Skills English website and train schoolteachers to use the content in their classes.

For Adriel and his friends, the Esporte Seguro has already taught them a key lesson: “Our first priority is school. We can’t give up on our dreams.”


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