Introduction

Based on interviews with Onno Raadsen and Suzan van Doorn, Todos

Cooperation Todos and ARCA

In the Netherlands ARCA receives assistance from Todos, an organization that raises awareness and disseminates information here about the lives of young people in slum neighbourhoods. Todos demonstrates that sports and games may contribute substantially toward improving their quality of life. While both organizations encourage a playful approach, their objective is to raise awareness and provide information. ARCA and Todos work together closely and complement each other in knowledge exchange and financial support (Todos campaigns for ARCA at schools). Both organizations use a Sports van. The one in Brazil is packed with excellent equipment for sports and games and the one in the Netherlands with alternative gaming materials to enable Dutch children to see and experience that young people in slum neighbourhoods are highly inventive in finding creative ways to satisfy their urge to play.

ARCA

ARCA is a Brazilian NGO dedicated to informal teaching approaches for children and young adults ages 6 to 18 who live in the slums (favelas) amid high-risk situations. In the Brazilian favelas, unemployment rates are high, schools are inadequate, and crime, drugs and armed violence are rampant. Providing education about sports and games serves to reinforce self-esteem and social values that help them build a life and make their community function better.

ARCA runs an intensive programme for children and young adults in two slum neighbourhoods, has opened community centres in each of them and reinforces the educational role of parents and schools. In both neighbourhoods, sports and games further the cognitive and social / emotional development of the target group. Values that improve the employment prospects of the target group are pivotal in these efforts.

ARCA also features a programme of sports and games that moves to a different slum neighbourhood every week and highlights sports and games as the right of all children. In both programmes ARCA supports hundreds of children by raising their awareness of social values and citizenship, tries to improve the employment prospects of young adults, enhances the parental role of many parents and enriches neighbourhood activities.

The rights of young adults and their surroundings are also brought to the attention of municipal and other authorities, along with proposals for improvement. ARCA runs a VW Sports van, which is filled with useful equipment for sports and games. This is a fast, convenient way to reach out to the target group. In summary, the preventive approach of ARCA provides young adults and their parents with the inspiration and means to break out of the downward spiral of poverty, drugs and violence.