Under the banner of DISCOVER FOOTBALL´s international campaign Estrela Sports and DISCOVER FOOTBALL created an exchange among young female football players. The Girls Football Camp took place from July 5th till July 12th 2014 in the amateur soccer pitches of girls’ projects in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The exchange ended with a tournament in Rocinha, girls against girls from 4 different Favelas. The girl’s team from Cidade de Deus took the trophy home.
During the FIFA Men’s World Cup, DISCOVER FOOTBALL and our partner organization Estrela Sports brought together girls from different areas of disadvantaged neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha, Vidigal, Chatuba – Mesquita and Cidade de Deus. Just like in any other region of the world, girls from disadvantaged communities face complex problems. They often come from difficult social backgrounds with many families living below the poverty line. Due to poor education, many youths lack employment skills. They are exposed to health risks, alcoholism and drugs. Especially girls and young women face violence and crime and are discriminated against and excluded from social life.
Using football as a tool DISCOVER FOOTBALL and Estrela Sports strove to overcome discrimination, improves health and combat disease, promote gender equality, fight violence and secure environmental sustainability. The girl’s football camp created an exchange among female football players and leaders, a ‘safe space’, enabled the girls to talk about issues they are facing, and encourage them to play football. The workshops were meant to be a mutual exchange and commitment of participating communities, DISCOVER FOOTBALL and Estrela Sports. It aimed to create an international solidarity and a sense of community through the common joy of the game. The project recognized the potential that football and other sports can unleash when systematically included in processes of social change.
The Girls Camp closed with a tournament on a hill in Rocinha, where all 4 participating teams played against each other. UN special advisor on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr. Willi Lemke joined our celebration day and highlighted the importance of advocating for a world in which girls and women can do sports without being discriminated against for any reason.
We are still looking at a long road ahead of us. But DISCOVER FOOTBALL and our network members will keep fighting for those who have none, to look at those who are not seen. We believe that everyone deserves opportunities and need to have alternatives in life.We hope there will be a higher understanding of the importance of women in sport, more knowledge of the other dimension of the game, and an increased recognition of the power of football to change lives and create new opportunities for girls and women all over the world – independently from origin, life style or social backgrounds.