‘Street20’ cricket in the Favelas – creating hope and a brighter future

Cricket for Change has partnered with Cricket Brazil (with the support of British Airways and the Anglo-Brazilian Society) to launch a programme designed to inspire and build aspirations of young people from Favela communities in Rio de Janeiro. The programme uses ‘Street 20’ which is an exciting, engaging and inexpensive form of cricket which can be played on any rough piece of ground.

This image from the Street20 Favela programme was named as ‘Photo of the Year’ at the 2013 ICC Development Awards for the Americas Region. Taken by a member of the C4C team on the development trip.

Cricket for Change and Cricket Brazil introduced the game of ‘Street20’ to two Favela communities demonstrating how the game can be used as a tool to bring young people and communities together. The initial visit will lead to a programme being delivered in 2014 which has been supported by the Anglo-Brazilian Society with a grant of £5,000.

At the introductory sessions the young people’s faces and smiles belied the somewhat dangerous backdrop of their normal lives. The Anglo-Brazilian Society believe that their generous investment in the favela Street 20 cricket programme will allow young people to develop better relations with police and each other.

Oliver Ballhatchet, Consul at the British Consulate-General in Rio said “This is a great offering from cricket Brazil and Cricket for Change. It is great to see how a British game can be used to change the aspirations and attitudes of some of Rio’s most disadvantaged young people.”

The fact that cricket is not universally known in Brazil is a really positive aspect to the programme. Young people in Brazil love football but also pick up on the negative aspects of the game. Cricket has the ability to inject real respect and positive behaviour from the outset and to offer this in a deprived and challenging environment will be a real forward step for the Favela communities in Rio.

CEO of Cricket Brazil, Vincent Bastick stated, “The initial part of this project has gone fantastically well. The two Favela communities have welcomed our project and we have already been contacted by two more who want to be a part of it.”

Initial sessions in Favelas in São João and Fallet, Santa Teresa, have proved very popular with up to 50 young people having the opportunity to take part and build enthusiasm for this programme.

Andy Dalby-Welsh, Director of Operations at Cricket for Change said, “Our initial visit has been so well received. Once the regular sessions start taking place our aim is to come and assist with a festival that brings different Favela communities together. We will also be delivering a ‘Street20’ leaders programme that will create young leaders from some very disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Developing ‘Street20’ cricket leaders and ambassadors from within the community is a great way of moving towards a peaceful and positive future for young people.