Rugby project in 'Paradise City' favela offers youngsters Olympic dream

Published 0827 GMT (1627 HKT) July 15, 2016
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This image of Sao Paulo's Paraisopólis ("Paradise City") shows the favela's stark contrast of rich and poor. Tuca Vieira
The favela is home to Rugby Para Todos, a project set up 12 years ago by two rugby players. Antonio Brasiliano
Originally with little money for the project, the pair worked as volunteers getting youngsters off the streets and into rugby. Antonio Brasiliano
Originally, they just played rugby in training sessions on a dust bowl of a pitch shared with local football teams. Antonio Brasiliano
But thanks to a government tax on businesses ahead of the Olympics in Brazil, they have had the funding to go full-time and install a new pitch. Guilherme Merlino
The project is not just about teaching youngsters to play rugby -- it also aids in their education and provides food to a poor community. Antonio Brasiliano
It is the brainchild of Mauricio Draghi (left) and Fabricio Kobashi, who hail from a more affluent area of the city. Caio Passarelli
Bianca Silva has been one of the success stories of the project -- the teenager has forced her way into the Brazilian sevens international setup. João Neto/Fotojump
In the favela from which she hails, she has become known as the "lioness of the Olympics" and a role model for young girls. However, the teenager missed out on selection for the Games. João Neto/Fotojump
Silva has been hailed as the new star of the game at the international level in Brazil, which is traditionally a football-loving nation. João Neto/Fotojump