RIO DE JANEIRO - Inter Campus’ year draws to a close in the large communities north of Rio de Janeiro. Football is there in abundance, but so is humanity and the desire to grow. The children want to play, you can see it in their faces; despite the difficulties of every day with the struggles of school, family and uncertainty about the future.
We are welcomed by colourful murals as we enter the Maré, the walls depicting the faces that we find on the pitch. Here there is no distinction of race, religion or culture: just a rolling ball and a handful of smiling faces chasing after it. Before training, the communities squeeze together under rickety streetlamps, which only just light up the excited faces of those who can't wait to get started. Their parents stand close by, aware of how football, understood as a tool for education and integration, is a fundamental part of their children's lives.
It is difficult to measure the impact of Inter Campus in authentic, but complex realities, where the standards of the world give way to an unexpected equilibrium. Yet, even in these contexts, children's happiness is the most important indicator, the most beautiful feedback we could ever hope for. Let us start here with another Nerazzurri New Year just around the corner.