Back in 2018, The Favela Foundation was approached by a group based in Complexo da Penha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro's North Zone.
They told us about a football project that had been established in 2014, following their team's success at the Street Child World Cup earlier that year. Street Child built a football pitch in the heart of Penha, and helped establish a project, Família Caracol, to run the facility.
The project offers a safe space to children in the community, and a brief escape from some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Over 300 children make use of the pitch in the heart of the favela, supported by three coaches on a daily basis.
The project was a huge success, and the team successfully defended their Street Child World Cup title in 2018, with a trip to Moscow to boot.
However, just before the team's success in Moscow, severe weather and a series of military operations left the pitch in a state of disrepair. The community lost a valuable resource, and the team that had won the Street Child World Cup were left without a pitch to return to.
Street Child United Brazil decided to redevelop the facility, and launched a successful crowdfunding exercise in 2018. They reached out to The Favela Foundation in late 2018, hoping to secure further necessary funds to get the pitch up and running as soon as possible.
With the support of The Hutton Foundation, The Favela Foundation was able to offer two grants to Street Child United Brazil, which supported with relaying the astroturf pitch, and the rebuilding of the fencing and facilities.
After months of hard work, the pitch was reopened to the community and normal service was resumed in September!
The work didn't stop there, and the team on the ground spent the next few weeks installing new fences and putting the finishing touches on the facility, and work is beginning on the second pitch in 2020.
Adam Reid, Head of SCU Brazil, spoke about the importance of the Safe Space for the community:
"We're so grateful to The Favela Foundation for their support of Street Child United Brazil. This support enabled us to refurbish our Safe Space football field where we run football for development sessions for local youth every day. Situated in one of the most violent communities of Rio, the field provides a critical safe space for both play and development. Thank you Favela Foundation for making safe play possible."
It's been a pleasure to work with the team in Complexo da Penha, and we look forward to continuing to support Street Child United Brazil in the future.