On July 26 the world's largest football tournament for youngsters, Norway Cup, kicks off at Ekeberg in Oslo, Norway. Hydro is looking forward to welcoming the Alunorte Rain Forest Team from Brazil, which is competing for the 14th time this year.
Hydro has aluminium operations in Barcarena in the state of Pará in Brazil. Here football has proven to be a decisive factor in efforts to combat absenteeism and dropping out from school.
In 2001 Hydro entered into a partnership with Barcarena municipality with the objective of getting more young people back to school. Participation and a place on the football team Alunorte Rain Forest Team and the opportunity to travel to Norway and compete in Norway Cup have helped motivate pupils.
There is a lot of competition for places on the team that travels to Norway Cup, and a great deal of prestige is involved. Pupils are assessed on the basis of their football skills, performance at school, attendance and conduct.
Thousands of pupils compete each year to realise the dream of playing at Norway Cup.
The greatest victory
On November 8 last year a departure ceremony was held for the team at Hydro in Barcarena, where the selected players were given passports and a suitcase containing their football kit and a travel guide to Norway.
"The first big home run is having you in school, studying, taking care of your future. Learnings and experiences from a trip like this transforms the life of a person," said Silvio Porto, the head of Hydro's alumina plant Alunorte in Barcarena, at the departure ceremony.
"Seeing our children achieve this level of success makes us victorious as well," said the proud father of one of the boys on the team, José Augusto Freitas.
Since 2001 more than 12,000 youngsters have competed for a chance to travel to Norway and participate in this international tournament, which was first held in 1972.
Figures from 2014 show that 44 per cent of northern Brazilians drop out of school before the age of 14. However, there have been huge improvements at primary and lower secondary school levels (6-14 years), where the proportion of pupils who did not complete school has fallen from 15 per cent in 2000 to 4 per cent in 2013.