Football-Inspired App Empowers Students in Brazil's Underprivileged Schools

Football-Inspired App Empowers Students in Brazil’s Underprivileged Schools

In the heart of football-obsessed Brazil, a unique educational initiative is transforming classrooms into virtual soccer pitches, inspiring young minds to academic excellence. The Vini Jr Institute, founded by Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, has launched an innovative app that harnesses the power of football to enhance learning in underprivileged communities.

At the Visconde de Sepetiba municipal school in Sao Goncalo, Vinicius’s birthplace, students are immersed in a gamified learning environment. Perched on football-patterned cushions on artificial grass floors, they engage with educational content on tablets and smartphones using the Vini Jr Institute app.

“I learn better when I use the app,” says 11-year-old Ana Clara da Silva. “It’s easier, it looks like a game.”

The app, designed as a supplement to traditional teaching, provides each student with a personalized account that tracks their progress. Questions are presented in a playful, football-inspired manner, covering subjects such as mathematics, Portuguese, and science.

“Each school year is a ‘season,’ and each subject is a ‘match,'” explains Victor Oliveira, executive manager of the Vini Jr Institute. “The avatar ‘Vinizinho Jr’ celebrates each correct answer as if it were a goal.”

Beyond academic support, the institute also tackles the pervasive issue of racism in Brazil. It has developed an anti-racism training manual and provided instruction to teachers on the subject.

“He is very important to all of us,” says Ana Clara about Vinicius. “I’m glad he never gives up. And because his voice reaches a wide audience, he can fight for us.”

The Vini Jr Institute, initially funded by Vinicius himself, has expanded its reach with the support of sponsors. By the end of this year, it aims to reach 30 schools, benefiting over 4,500 students and 500 teachers.

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