Using sports to educate vulnerable children about values in Rio de Janeiro

The FutbolNet Brasil project uses sports as a tool for social transformation

The FutbolNet Brasil project uses sports as a tool for social transformation The FutbolNet Brasil project uses sports as a tool for social transformation

Futbolnet is open to anyone that wants to join. Located in the Mare Olympic Village, the first sports complex created by the city of Rio de Janeiro to promote the right to sports, is a place where people can take refuge from the violence of the streets. In Mare, a group of 16 neighborhoods of overcrowded slums, there are few public spaces, and this is why the Olympic Village is one of the most popular places to go in the whole community.

Futbolnet, through a wide range of sports activities, promotes the social inclusion of children and young people from 6 to 17 years old, and prevents violence and builds citizenship among vulnerable youth.

Through sports and in a fun way, children and young people learn to regulate their behavior. The sessions are structured in order to help improve different aspects of child development:

  1. Games designed as ice breakers: energizing the body as a way of warming up.
  2. Activities related to fostering values.
  3. Soccer matches in three parts and other sports.
  4. Group dynamics on keeping calm and static stretching routines.
  5. Final thoughts, with the goal of getting everyone taking part to discuss the different situations that have taken place and to demonstrate anything they have learned.

It also focuses on conflict resolution, diversity and participation. A FutbolNet match is played in every session and there is no referee, which encourages conflict resolution among the players; the teams should also be diverse in terms of their gender, disabilities, soccer skills, and their backgrounds; and lastly, everyone should be encouraged to join in.

Through this Fundación Barça project 1,600 children in Rio de Janeiro have the opportunity for all-round development and learn how to strike a balance between what they think, feel and do.