The community of Rio Doce celebrated the official opening of a Field in a Box pitch in Olinda on Thursday as part of a collaborative social responsibility programme by FedEx Express, the UEFA Foundation for Children and streetfootballworld. This ambitious project aims to use football to deliver positive change in communities where young people live in challenging circumstances.
“This Field in a Box pitch will provide sports infrastructure for community activities aimed at creating opportunities for youngsters and strengthening social ties in Olinda. Every child will learn to play a key role in the community’s future and cohesion,” said Pascal Torres, general secretary of the UEFA Foundation for Children.
“When FedEx Express began sponsoring the UEFA Europa League, we wanted to find a way to use our involvement in professional football to benefit young people on a more personal level. The Field in a Box initiative uses a shared interest in football to open up new possibilities for individuals and communities around the world,” said Américo Pereira Filho, vice-president of operations for FedEx Express Brazil.
The installation of the pitch was overseen by global charity streetfootballworld and its network member love.fútbol. The non-profit organisation Pazear, based in Olinda, has developed a programme of activities to ensure sustainable use of the pitch by the community. These activities are based on the Football3 methodology that uses the game to promote communication, fair play, and respect among players, while also instilling a sense of responsibility and ambition in aspiring young footballers.
“We are inspired by our friends in Rio Doce and proud of our community-driven approach to this collaboration with FedEx Express, the UEFA Foundation for Children, streetfootballworld, and Pazear. All communities have the power to be agents of their own change. This project is an important step in using sport for social development,” said Drew Chafetz, CEO and co-founder of love.fútbol.
The community welcomed the arrival of the pitch and took part in the early construction stages, planting trees, painting tyres and transporting materials to help lay the groundwork at an event coordinated by love.fútbol. FedEx Express teams from Jaboatão dos Guararapes also volunteered, painting walls and benches, removing debris and cleaning.
Brazil is the fourth country to receive a Field in the Box pitch, after Spain, Poland, and South Africa. Field in a Box is funded by FedEx Cares, a global social responsibility platform committed to investing $200 million in 200 communities around the world by 2020.