With all of the recent conversation about favela destruction, drug gang violence, and a supposed World Cup of Terror in the running up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, one very unexpected Dutch immigrant is providing a ray of hope to many of the impoverished children in the favelas, through the game of football.
Nanko van Buuren, a psychiatrist by trade, came to Brazil in 1987, aiming to lift children away from poverty and organized crime . Since founding IBISS, the Brazilian institute for innovation and social health care about 20 years ago, he has helped over 4,000 children in 68 different favela communities . Van Buuren is using football to change the culture of violence in these favelas, while also directly increasing school attendance and homicide rates in certain areas .
Read here to learn more about how the beautiful game can connect people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and social statures and save the lives of hundreds of impoverished children: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/22951694.
This is a truly beautiful story, especially in the months before the World Cup, about how soccer unifies us all. Enjoy.