Art for Street Children in Rio

By Elisa Lamego

Street Child World Cup’s work in Brazil continued on after the incredible event in April. Amongst our objectives, we support local projects and seek to offer them and their children unique opportunities. AMAR (‘to love’ in Portuguese) is one of these local outstanding grassroots projects.

For the past few months, Street Child World Cup has been focusing on this partnership and the latest activities involved one of our core pillars: art.

Hope through art at the AMAR street child project

Hope through art at the AMAR street child project

AMAR has street child shelters across Rio and one of them was looking to renew their patio and main gate to provide a more pleasant environment for the children according to Fabiano Farinha, a former street child himself and one of the dedicated staff at this project.

Fabiano says marginalised children, such as children at risk of the streets, have little room for dreaming and by “involving these children with the World Cup spirit it will make them feel part of it. If they cannot be in the stadiums, at least we’ll bring them the Cup”. The newly painted walls will create a nice atmosphere in the shelter and give the kids a sense of unity. “They are already very protective of the art and avoid playing football in the patio”.

Marcelo Nascimento is the artist in charge of the renewal. A self-taught 31 years old graffiti artist, Marcelo has been working with graffiti for the past 5 years. The new patio will be a result of the artist’s work and the children’s opinion. “We decided to keep the walls and gate as an exclusive work but the children judge what I do, give opinions and add their perspectives”, he says. Fabiano adds “the whole shelter is being repainted. Inside the house the kids are contributing with their own art, drawing on paper that we’ll fixate on the wall”.

Children & staff at AMAR on the eve of the World Cup

Children & staff at AMAR on the eve of the World Cup

For the inauguration of the patio, AMAR threw a party named “Copa das Crianças” (Children’s Cup) on June 11th, the eve of the FIFA World Cup kick-off. The children wore their football uniforms, sang the national anthem, played and danced. It was a lovely evening, full of spirit and guaraná (most well-known Brazilian soda)!

AMAR is a non-profit organisation founded in July 2000. The project works with children, adolescents and young people at risk of the streets in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AMAR works in 3 core areas: Emergency, Preventative and Educative support for street children. The charity reaches over 700 people in ten socio-educational projects in the area.

Street Child World Cup were then invited to watch one of the FIFA World Cup matches with the children at the shelter. We look forward to sharing the excitement of a game with them soon.

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  • “I experienced hardcore street life in my youth. I know what it’s like. I congratulate the Street Child World Cup project in it’s commitment to bring attention to the plight of Street Children through the power of football.”

    Manny Pacquiao, Filipino professional boxer
  • “No child should have to live on the streets and I fully endorse this campaign giving street children a voice to claim their rights”

    Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United Manager
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    Abdul Faquir, Team Mozambique, Project Leader