RPI Supports UmRio Project Blue

UmRio is a charity which empowers and engages young people in Rio’s most vulnerable regions through education, rugby and healthcare. For youth in Morro do Castro, rugby harnesses the potential for a little-known sport to create a community. This community then provides opportunities and identities for young people, which would not otherwise available in the favela.

RP International maintains a close relationship with UmRio and two of our former interns, Will and Oli, previously travelled to Brazil to work with the charity. This year RPI are actively supporting UmRio’s newest initiative, Project Blue. Project Blue targets young people most at-risk of abandoning their educational or employability goals with the incentive and resources they need to fill their academic, professional and personal potential. The Project seeks to be an impact-driven programme rather than an award: to qualify for the project, candidates require 80% attendance in rugby, English and an education programme aligned with their academic or professional goals that year. The two top performers in the program will be flown to the UK for a 2-week personal development program at Oxford and Cambridge, where they will learn skills to scale the project’s impact through 2019. The results of the program have been highly encouraging: currently, all the programme members in Project Blue who were neither in education nor employment in January have re-engaged in education. The prospect of visiting their Oxbridge heroes has been explicitly highlighted as a key motivation to their commitment.

There are currently 3 clear front-runners on the UmRio program, but only enough funding to send 2 to the UK. RPI has offered to surprise the third candidate with a ticket so that three top performers will be able to engage in the personal development experience in the UK.

The three candidates will then become youth ambassadors for the program. Their 14 days in the UK will be composed of leadership workshops held and Oxford and Cambridge, public speaking exercises, written & verbal communication development, project planning, and of course a Varsity rugby match with Oxford and Cambridge. The youth ambassador will then apply the skills they gained from their experience to scale the project’s impact, through mentoring candidates in 2019, engaging work-experience within the UmRio structure in 2019, and executing a youth-led project.

We are looking forward to meeting all three program members, Ivan, Matheus, and Matheus, when they make their way to the UK this December!

“For 5 years volunteers from around the world have come to UmRio to support our mission. This year, thanks to RP International, that journey will be reversed for the first time through Project Blue. In many ways, Project Blue is the pinnacle of UmRio’s programme development, taking young people from the Morro do Castro favela, for an educational and personal development experience at two Universities that have become a huge part of their identities. The project also encompasses every programme at UmRio, engaging our Project Blue candidates in rugby, educational courses, employability opportunities and healthcare interventions. While this year was incredibly competitive, we expect that competition for a place on Project Blue next year will be even greater. Indeed, this years candidates have inspired children and young people throughout our age-groups to aspire to becoming a Project Blue candidates in years to come.” – Robert Malengreau, Founder & President of UmRio