Last week, Mr. Wilfried Porth, who has been a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since 2009, took time off to visit Laureus-supported project Bola Pra Frente in Rio de Janeiro.
Bola Pra Frente is an initiative of star footballer Jorginho, a key member of the Brazil team which won the 1994 World Cup in the United States. The project was established in 2000 in Muquico Complex, west of Rio de Janeiro. At every level, sport is integrated within all programmes of the project, not only on a physical basis but also as the main tool for educational objectives within the classrooms. Values such as team work, responsibility, respect for the rules, taking direction from coaches are integrated into the sporting activities and put into practice in the classrooms as well. Although football is the main sport, Bola Pra Frente also delivers volleyball, basketball and dance activities to promote inclusion.
The project is located in an area of low socio-economic households, where drug use and trafficking, teenage prostitution, high rate of school drop-outs, violence, crime and lack of opportunities define day to day life.
BPF’s mission is to educate children, adolescents and their families towards becoming leaders and role models in their communities, using sport as the means to achieve this. Its vision is for a fair social system, where all young people have the opportunity for social advancement through sport, education, art, culture and professional training.
Mr. Porth, who represents Mercedes-Benz, one of Laureus’ Global Partners, decided to take over the patronage of the project in order to further demonstrate professional and personal commitment. He speaks fluent Portuguese and is as former resident of the country, which made his first Laureus project visit even more meaningful as he was able to communicate with the young participants.
Upon arrival to Bola Pra Frente, Mr Porth was personally welcomed by Jorginho. Incidentally, Mr. Porth knew him from the Brazilian’s football days as he used to play in Germany. It made the meeting that bit extra special. As if meeting a barzilina football legend wasn’t enough, Laureus Academy Members Hugo Porta, considered Argentina’s best ever rugby player, and Daley Thompson, legendary decathlete, also attended the visit. Mr. Porth and these sporting legends learned about the history of the project, took a tour of the neighbourhood, and even had time to sneak in a little game of football and rugby.
It was clear to Mr. Porth, Hugo and Daley, that this project meant everything to the kids, who live in very challenging social environments. It was a wonderful day for everyone involved.
To show the strength of its commitment to Laureus, each member of the Daimler Board of Management is now becoming the individual patron of a project around the world.
Daimler are Founding Patrons of Laureus and Mercedes-Benz are Global Partners, supporting the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation around the world. . Thanks to their support, Laureus has raised €85 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. Currently Laureus supports more than 150 projects in 35 countries.