The Public Affairs section of the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro teamed up with Street Child World Cup and U.S. Graffiti Artist, Joel Bergner to organize an activity for approximately 100 youth at the Vidigal Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro. The Street Child World Cup is an organization involved in a global movement for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children are entitled to, using arts and soccer as tools for social transformation. They were responsible for organizing the second edition of a soccer tournament and arts festival with former street children from 19 countries, that took place in Rio from March 30 through April 6, 2014.
The Consulate sponsored the mural at the Vidigal Olympic Village, which was idealized and organized by U.S.-based artist and educator Joel Bergner. The project included the participation of the youth participants, local Vidigal residents, four local graffiti artists and ten international volunteers from the event organization. The mural reflects the spirit and goals of the event, celebrates Vidigal and includes soccer and the creative arts, main pillars of the event. The participants had a chance to express themselves by writing poetry, messages and making drawings to be incorporated in the design. The United States was represented in the tournament by a boys’ team assisted by Street Soccer USA, and came in fourth place after a penalty shoot-out against Pakistan.
The activity highlighted Mission Brazil’s efforts to celebrate the friendship between nations and featured the importance of arts and sports as instruments to reach out to at-risk youth and promote social inclusion. Also present at the mural activity were Brazilian and U.S participants from the ‘Urban Voices: a NY-Rio Community Journalism Exchange’ who had the opportunity to register the excitement of such a unique event.