Protecting Street Children in Penha (Rio)
May 29th, 2015. Penha is a favela in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, located in the north zone. It is a favela which has tremendous social problems including drug trafficking and seemingly weekly shootings often involving the ever-present police. We are here with Street Child United which dedicates itself to improving the lives of street children and ensuring that they have access to the same rights as all other children. You may also recognize them as the hosts of the Street Child World Cup, their flagship event where they bring teams of street children from dozens of countries together to compete every four years.
However the impact that they have on the street children occurs daily, as they run training sessions with children in Penha. Our award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC and their #PlayItForward campaign has allowed our two groups to work together for the past two weeks, collaborating as we implement a training plan that highlights specific aspects of our curriculum – most notably Child Rights and Conflict Resolution. It is easy to state that children should have certain rights, such as the right to education, the right to safe sport, and the right to a protected home – but if adults are not fighting to ensure those rights, how could they be ensured?
Our curriculum specifically teaches both coaches and children about the rights afforded them under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Most important is that they are fun, extremely soccer-specific, and create a safe space for children to learn while they are playing (UN Child Right #31). Street Child United will take our curriculum and implement it into their training to ensure that their goal to create a world in which street children are protected, supported and given opportunities to realize their potential is reached.
Also joining the training this week were coaches from Favella Street and PlayLife, and our staff was joined by Camila, a Community Impact Coach from our São Paulo partner ACER. These coaches (all women) and girls who participated in training made this one of the most gender-balanced training sessions CAC have had. These powerful female role models are helping to ensure the rights of young boys and girls in Brazil and through Street Child, around the world.