By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A collaboration between the Street Child World Cup and Favela Street, along with The Rio Times, will collect Christmas presents this year to be handed out to street children and children in danger of the street in Rio de Janeiro. We ask readers to participate in the project, with the goal of making the Christmas holiday a little brighter for the innocent children cast out on the streets.
The Christmas presents should contain (new or used-but-in-excellent-condition) clothes, blankets and toys, and can be for boys or girls that are on average between 7 and 18 years old. The presents can be dropped off in Flamengo until December 8th or at the British School in Botafogo or volunteer’s homes in Tijuca or Copacabana until December 14th. In the week after they will be distributed at a street children Christmas breakfast organized by the Amar project.
The idea of the campaign came from Street Child World Cup winner Dryka, the girl’s team captain from Penha, who wanted to give something back after the great experience she had participating at the World Cup. “I want to take on responsibility and make other children smile as well. I want them to know that they are somebody too,” she told The Rio Times.
Dryka’s team is part of the Favela Street project, one of the programs from Dutch organization IBISS. The football coaching project, originally aimed at ex drug dealers and now open to other people from the community, wants to teach its members to make a positive contribution to their community and become a role model to other youngsters by training them in sports.
The girls from the project participated for Brazil at the Street Child World Cup in April 2014. At the event 230 former street children, aged 14 to 17, from nineteen countries came to Rio to participate and spread the message that no child should have to live on the street. Currently, the organization is preparing for its next major event, the Street Child Games in 2016 a pre-event to the Olympics.
Joe Hewitt, Head of Brazil Office of the Street Child World Cup explained why he supports the Street Christmas campaign: “For many families across Brazil, Christmas represents a wonderful time of home, family and love. For children in the situation of the street, their reality is far different.”
“The projects we work with often act as their family offering them shelter, safety and rehabilitation. This year we are launching Street Christmas to give these children gifts of toys and clothes from members of the public that will make Christmas a special time for them as well,” Hewitt adds.
The presents will go to children that are taken care of by the Amar project. Amar runs a shelter in Vila Isabel, where currently twenty boys live, and also works directly with children still in the streets. Furthermore, presents will also go to children in need through Favela Street in the Penha community.
To participate and for more information on drop-offs, please contact us at The Rio Times.