Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Photographer: Ivan Abreu

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition)

Rafael Botelho is a volunteer teacher at Minas Quad Rugby, an educational organisation that uses sport to work with tetraplegics. Based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil’s sixth largest city, Minas Quad Rugby’s twenty-five members have all either partially or totally lost the use of their torso and limbs, some because of having a degenerative disease, others because of being in vehicle accidents or having been shot. The squad trains every day from Monday to Friday and competes in tournaments across the country. Three of its members were picked to represent Brazil at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. As well as Rafael, who has a master’s degree in adapted physical education, Minas Quad Rugby’s staff includes both sports trainers and psychologists. All its staff have worked for free since the team lost its main sponsor as a result of the economic crisis which struck Brazil in 2015.