Young People from The Impoverished Suburbs Bet on Gaming

Favela residents overcome difficulties to pursue a career as gamers

São Paulo

He was supposed to be in search of new talent for football, but the Covid pandemic made Igor Oliveira, 23, change his mind.

At the beginning of 2020, he helped to form the Free Fire team in the Jardim Elba community, which brings together 11 favelas in the east side of São Paulo.

SÃO PAULO-SP, BRASIL, 13-01-2021 - FREE FIRE - Igor Oliveira. (Foto: Ronny Santos/Folhapress, ESPORTE) - Folhapress

Assembling a team for the most popular game in Brazil put the paulista and six other boys on the digital scene, a space that is still restricted for many young people who live in the suburbs, but which has been a platform for social ascension for gamers and streamers from poor regions.

In Vigário Geral, a favela in the north of Rio de Janeiro, Ricardo Chantilly founded, in 2019, AfroGames, the first e-sports training center in the country based in a favela.

Until 2021, the place served more than 100 students. "Everyone can take League of Legends, game programming and Fortnite classes, as well as English, apart from snacks, uniform and top quality equipment."

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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