Brazil's Olympic legacy: teenage girls tackle taboos through sport

Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:08am EDT
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By Sophie Davies

RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Each week in a northern suburb of Rio de Janeiro, a dozen or so girls meet to play handball but are learning far more than how to master the fast-paced game.

Part of a project called One Win Leads to Another, organized by U.N. Women and the International Olympic Committee, the teens take part before each game in group sessions with a psychologist talking about women's rights, reproduction and sexual health.

One Win Leads to Another, which also receives support from the Brazilian Olympic Committee, is one of several programs aimed at building a social legacy in Rio beyond this summer's Olympic Games.

The aim of One Win is to create a "safe space" for girls to discuss subjects that may likely be taboo at home or school, Thays Prado, a project manager at the United Nations' women's agency, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The girls, quiet and shy at first, have opened up, Prado said.

"I like the program and have learned a lot about feminism and women's rights," said 15-year-old Marcelly Victória.

"It's my mother's role to approach those topics but as she doesn't do it, I now bring them up myself," she said.

Her mother is relieved and pleased that they can talk about subjects like sexual health at home, she said.   Continued...