Wear your football boots and go back to school

At the border of French Guyana and Brazil, the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) is working hard to launch its literacy program.

Social and Employment

Project leader


Oiapoque, Brazil

Denis Fabers

10,000 euro to the Selection Committee at 2006/10/03

Creole, “black-brown”, Amerindian and ethnically mixed communities, of the populations originating in Surinam, Guyana and Brazil: Oiapoque, a Brazilian town located in the extreme northeast of Brazil, on the river of the same name just opposite the province of Cayenne, in French Guyana, is a very cosmopolitan city. But also extremely poor. In all the communities of the town, many children are still illiterate at the age of 9 years; besides, interethnic conflicts frequently break out.
For these various reasons, UNESCO has decided to take action on its overall objective: education for all. Yet to make the children, who are more accustomed to the law of the street than of a teacher, go to school, it has decided to rely on its program “Hope and Solidarity around a Ball”.

No Tantrums!

Thanks to regular sports, fotball as it so happens, the idea is to instill in children often abandoned to themselves, values such as tolerance, solidarity and respect for others (even if they are not the same color as yourself). Once this apprenticeship is over, they can then return to their school desks. Beyond this, the program also attempts to promote a rapprochement between the Guyana and Brazilian societies.
In late October 2006, 1,500 youths from these various communities joined each other at Oiapoque for four days, to participate in a major sports and cultural event, under the benevolent eyes of a number of football stars. During this massive fete, they were all invited to join the program. fotball first, school next.

To help UNESCO mount this program, fondation Veolia decided to participate in its financing. Ultimately, the idea is to enable the 1,500 children of the street to plunge into their adult lives with sufficient learning to construct a life… away from the street.