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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s federal government launched the Emergency Program for Social Actions in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, announcing investments of R$157 million to stimulate the participation of young people in sports, cultural and technology activities and keep youngsters away from crime in some of Rio’s poorest favela communities.

Brazil, Rio de Janeiro,Presidente Michel Temer and First Lady Marcela Temer with youths from communities around Rio,
Presidente Michel Temer and First Lady Marcela Temer with youths from communities around Rio, photo byMarcos Corrêa/PR.

“We have a huge military force helping to deal with organized crime,” said Social Development Minister Osmar Terra during the announcement ceremony.”(But) If we do not change the social structure; we do not improve people’s lives, this has a temporary effect,” added Terra.

“When I see the preparation of those who now practice sport and who find in sport a means of social integration, I see that the basic idea is the idea of peace,” declared Brazil’s President Michel Temer, who along with Rio’s governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and Rio’s mayor Marcelo Crivella participated in the ceremony.

According to officials approximately 50,000 children and youths, from 6-17 years of age, will benefit from the program. The objective is to reduce violence in these communities, located in the capital and throughout the metropolitan region through activities such as dances, games and courses.

Officials say the investments in sports will help with the purchase of sports equipment, uniforms, hiring of teachers and monitors, improvement of facilities and food to beneficiaries until December 2018. For education, efforts will be increased to identify children and adolescents who are out of school and bring them back to the classroom.

“When I see the preparation of those who now practice sport and who find in sport a means of social integration, I see that the basic idea is the idea of peace,” declared
Brazil’s President Michel Temer, who along with Rio’s governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and Rio’s mayor Marcelo Crivella participated in the ceremony.

Among the ten favela communities contemplated to receive the funds are Rocinha, Complexo do Alemão, Complexo da Maré, and Complexo do Salgueiro (São Gonçalo). In recent months the people in these communities have reported increased criminal activities and drug gang wars.

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