São Paulo: Ahead of the World Cup, award-winning British singer-songwriter Jake Bugg plays footie in a Brazilian slum with underprivileged teens as part of a trip with anti-poverty charity ActionAid.
Jake, who grew up on a Nottingham council estate, visited São Paulo’s largest slum, Heliópolis to raise awareness of ActionAid’s work in Brazil tackling long-term poverty.
For every 10 teenagers in Heliópolis, six are unemployed and four are not in school, with the largest causes of deaths among 12-20 year olds being murder and fights related to drug trafficking. ActionAid’s projects use music, art and sport to stop young people from being pulled into a life of crime and drugs.
The singer songwriter, who is currently on a world tour, was in São Paulo to play the Lollapolooza festival and took a day out to see some of ActionAid’s vital work with these communities. A life-long Notts County supporter, Jake played football with local young people, swapping footballing stories ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
Shown around the favela by Ivon, a DJ who volunteers at the ActionAid project Jake reflected on his own upbringing in Nottingham and was shocked by the sheer level of poverty faced by families in Heliópolis.
“There was just no comparison, you know which one you would rather live in,” Jake said. “You hear about poverty but when you actually see it, it shocks you.
“One thing that really brought it home to me was when we visited one lovely woman’s one-roomed house where seven people lived. There was water coming through the roof that had electrical wires dangling from it. It was just mad.”
As part of the visit Jake contributed to some graffiti art and saw first-hand how crucial these creative projects are.
He said: “People need an outlet. There was this one kid who was doing graffiti art and music. I could just see he was having a great time. It was an outlet for him and people need that.
“I learnt from today you should treat people how you want to be treated. Heliópolis is a community that’s pulled together and they’re making progress and despite the poverty they’re enjoying themselves.
“It was amazing to see,” said Jake.
Jake was introduced to ActionAid by long term supporters of the charity, Reading Festival. The video of the Heliópolis trip will appear on the main stage screens at Reading Festival (22-24 August) this summer where Jake will be performing on Saturday 23rd August.
Reading Festival CEO, Melvin Benn said, “Reading Festival has been a proud supporter of ActionAid for 13 years. The charity do amazing work around the world using music and arts based projects to help change people’s lives.
I am delighted that through Reading Festival Jake Bugg is now on board as a supporter of ActionAid and has been involved in this specific project in Brazil. I look forward to seeing him on the Main Stage at the Festival in August.”