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ESPN Brazil’s Sports Caravan creates greater access to athletics for country’s youth

When ESPN launched Caravana do Esporte (Sports Caravan) in Brazil in 2005, no one could have predicted how popular or far-reaching the program would be. To date, Caravana has visited 83 communities; some 1.8 million kids and 25,000 teachers have experienced the program.

ESPN Brazil founded Caravana with UNICEF Brazil and the Institute for Sports Education, a national nonprofit. Each Caravana invites kids aged 6 to 18 to participate in a half-day sports clinic taught by former professional athletes who represent a wide variety of sports, from rhythmic gymnastics, to boxing, to taekwondo and, of course, futebol. While the kids are in the field, public school teachers – Caravana’s local champions – attend physical education training classes.

Each Caravana also includes a production crew from ESPN Brazil that films the clinics to air as documentaries on ESPN’s networks.

“This social initiative was the first of its kind on Brazilian television and its success proved that sports can function as an educational tool and help promote development and social change,” says German Hartenstein, general manager, ESPN Brazil. “Our goal is to create access to sport, leisure and education — basic rights of all children — and we’re on the right track.”

The video above documents Caravana’s visit to Horizonte, a city of 40,000 in Brazil’s Northeast, approximately 30 miles south of Fortaleza.

Video produced by Tonya Malinowski and Ardi Dwornik

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