By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This past week saw Adam Reid, longtime Rio resident and CEO of Street Child United Brazil, receive the prestigious honor of Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his ongoing charity work in Rio de Janeiro and continued support for the British community in Brazil.
“I feel extremely honored,” comments Reid. “Simon Wood, the British Consul General, asked me to join him for a coffee a couple of months ago and then he told me.”
“I had to keep it secret until it was officially announced,” he adds. “I have said that the honor is not just for me but for our kids, our coaches, and our volunteers, too.”
In terms of what this MBE means for his continuing charity work, Reid adds, “I hope the publicity and credence attached to the award will aid us going forward.”
Since the beginning of the year when Street Child United Brazil managed to raise R$12,000 at the British and Commonwealth Society’s Christmas Festival, Reid and his colleagues have been busy rebuilding their flagship football pitch in the favela community of Complexo da Penha.
“Since we last spoke at the beginning of the year its been all about the rebuilding of the pitch,” Reid comments. “It has taken longer than planned due to a lot of rainy days, public holidays and the occasional shoot-out!”
However, the end is now in sight, he says, and they hope to have their official re-opening in the next few weeks. “We’re planning to re-open the pitch and fundraise to keep the program going. And we would like to establish a group of regular givers who could cover the basic monthly costs, which currently stand at around R$4,200,” he explains.
Reid thinks that this reliable income would allow him and his team to give more attention to additional classes for the footballers, such as extra English lessons and seeking work opportunities for the older participants.
He has also been busy participating in the Save the Dream NGO in collaboration with the Qatari airline. “Qatar Airways are making a film about empowering girls through playing football and chose Street Child United Brasil and Jessica do Vale, one of our young girls from the project, as a subject.”
He continues: “They filmed us in Penha before flying us east. We visited a girls’ project in a Paris suburb and talked to the Qatar Women’s team in Doha; Jessica played games with both. We also attended the Opening Game of the Women’s World Cup at Parc des Princes.”
Reid has many great memories of his time in Rio de Janeiro, where he has been a staple of the British community. He helped organize the popular Rio Quiz Night for many years and, in 1994, co-founded “The Umbrella”, a monthly local community publication that ran for over twenty years.
However, not much can top having a kick-about with Rod Stewart. “That was where Rio Soccer used to play their matches. Rod came out to watch us. I had met him at a press conference the day before, and we got chatting.”
He concludes: “The next day he would play Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve in front of one of the biggest concert audiences ever. I have a great photo of Rod and me from that day, but I can’t find it anywhere on my computer!”
Those interested in donating to Street Child United Brazil can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.