Living a Dream

The situation for children in Brazil is far from being easy. Children struggle to survive in everyday life due to an inaccessible education system and high unemployment rates. About 60% of all youth is unemployed and has only low-level education. Additionally, Brazil has a very high crime rate, especially concerning crime against children and youth. The country ranked 4th in the international statistics about homicide of children and youth. In 2010, 8,686 children and youth got killed, which are 24 each day. A related problem, which puts children in even greater danger, is the high rate of gang related crimes and violence. Children living in the slums of big cities are often recruited by gangs at the age of nine or ten years. All these reasons contribute to a hazardous situation of children living in the slums of Brazil. Many of them have no real homes, their life being determined by hunger, diseases and violence. These children have no rights and no lobby to fight for them.

Due to this tenuous situation, many children have to work in hazardous job to earn their living or contribute to the family income. Over 2 million girls work as prostitutes in the streets.

One possible way out of this misery is to succeed in a professional career as a football player in one of the various football schools all over Brazil, which also cover most of the youth work of the country. For many families, football, being the most popular national sport of the country, represents a way out of poverty. One side effect of this trend is that children and their parents often focus completely on the career as a professional football player and tend to neglect the education of the child.

HOPE’87, in cooperation with the Brazilian NGO Base Brazil and the UNESCO Foundation – Education for Children in Need, tried to create a possibility to combine both a career as a professional football player and the access to proper education with the project “Living a Dream”. The aim was to build and support a national football-training centre in Limeira, Sao Paolo with an adjacent learning centre to enable children to play football and study at the same institution. Furthermore, the projects aimed at cooperation with 24 already existing football schools concerning their players’ and trainers’ training and education. The children were supported throughout their training and education, but also after they started their career, in order to ensure that, if their career stops unexpectedly, they got the opportunity to be trained for another profession.

If you are interested in supporting the project ‘Living a Dream’, more information can be found on the following website: 

Project Type

Development Project, Education

Project Duration

Since 01/03/2014






Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Foundation for UNESCO, HOPE'87