Pupils at a North East school set the ball rolling yesterday in their World Cup build-up by linking with young counterparts in Brazil.
Fordley Primary School in Dudley, North Tyneside, has twinned with the Doutel de Andrade school in Curitiba, the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Parana, and yesterday a Skype link was set up between the two schools.
The schools have already exchanged details of their respective lifestyles, with the Brazilian youngsters sending a Powerpoint presentation.
Yesterday, Fordley School enjoyed a Brazilian day, with children dressed in England and Brazil football colours, learning Brazilian carnival dances and samba drumming, taking part in penalty shoot-outs, and writing postcards to send to Doutel about life in Dudley.
“The aim of the day is for our children to learn about Brazilian culture, make new friendships across the world, and raise money to send over there to support aditional teaching of English,” said Fordley head teacher Claire Withers.
The link was forged through Tyneside football coaches Craig Robson and Michael Gardner, who are taking part in a volunteering project in Curitiba.
They are laying on football coaching sessions, teaching youngsters English and helping to build a community centre and soccer pitches. Craig worked with Fordley School as a North Tyneside Council sports coach and has been given authorised, unpaid leave of absence to volunteer for the project.
The venture invloves Lionsraw – a North East-inspired movement which mobilises passionate football fans who believe they can make a difference in the lives of others locally and globally.
Lionsraw seeks to do this by mobilising and encouraging football supporters to volunteer their time and/or money to local community projects,
Michael, a former student of the Excelsior Academy in Scotswood, Newcastle, also worked as a volunteer for Hat Trick – a youth project supported by the Centre West regeneration charity.
Head teacher Claire said: “Football links people across the world.
“The Doutel school is huge. They don’t have a lot of money or resources, but we are both sharing our experiences.”