December 2017 An Amazing Gesture
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A school team of 12-14 year old basketball players from tiny city of Caiçara, Paraiba, in the north-east of Brazil, won their match against Motiva College Team in the State Youth School Games, awarding them with a place in the Brazilian Youth School Championships in Curitiba. Shortly after celebrating their victory the team was told that the local government could not provide sufficient funds to allow the boys to travel to the games. It would have taken three days to travel by bus from Paraiba to Curitiba in the State of Parana. So Caiçara, a social project for public school students, offered their place to the private school Motive College. Instead of taking them up on the offer, Motiva refused, and parents and students of Motiva College started a campaign to raise funds to allow the Caiçara team to travel.
The campaign gained national and international support. Lucas Bebe from the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, supported the appeal. In total R$36,000 was raised (just over US $11,000). Through the solidarity and generosity of the supporters, the Caiçara boys travelled by plane, many taking their first ever flight, to Curitiba on September 17, to play against the current runners up of the championship. Caiçara lost by 59 to 20, but the support, excitement and the experience was worth far more than the result.
“When we found out that we could not go, there was a kid who could not sleep, I had his mother calling me”, coach Edynho Nash, nicknamed after his idol, former NBA superstar Steve Nash, said. “Sport is not just a game. It is not just a question of competing for a medal, a trophy or a status. It can go much further with solidarity!”