The social project AfroGames, created in a partnership with the non-governmental organization AfroReggae in Brazil, reopened on Thursday after a pause during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Focused on the population living in the poor neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, known as favelas, the project not only offers courses in Computer Programming and English to young people in those neighborhoods, but also League of Legends and Fortnite competition.
With the main objective of empowering the youth to enter the esports market, the project will receive 100 students in a structure located in the Vigário Geral favela, Rio de Janeiro, equipped with gaming chairs and high-end computers. Special rooms sponsored by HyperX and GOL airlines will also be available to the students for live streaming sessions, teaching the concepts of content creation. The area was adapted to meet local health protocols advised for COVID-19 control.
One of the novelties for the reopening is the creation of the first esports team made up entirely of LoL players who graduated from AfroGames in 2019. The players will count on a professional structure that includes a physical trainer, psychologist, an exclusive room for training, and a fixed monthly income. The main objective is to find new talents for the Brazilian scene.
AfroGames was created by businessman Ricardo Chantilly and AfroReggae co-founder José Junior. It is sponsored by Fusion Energy Drink and the Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Sports, Recreation, and Youth, which grants tax breaks for the project. Telecommunications giant Globo is also a supporter. Founded in 1993, AfroReggae is one of the most prominent social organizations in Brazil with the mission of “reducing social inequalities and combating prejudice in its various forms, using art and culture as tools for the social transformation of people and groups, as well the environment in which they are inserted,” according to its official website.
As the esports world might seem distant for those who cannot afford proper equipment or a quality internet connection, initiatives such as AfroGames are important to the inclusion of people who would not have the opportunity to join this emerging market. Making esports accessible, as Garena makes with Free Fire, for example. The game is extremely popular in Brazil mainly due to its accessibility, and will help enhance the growth of this business and break a harmful ”bubble” that might hold it back.
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