After being left behind by her mother at one year of age, Claudiane was raised by her grandparents in a house in a poor area of Northern Brazil with no electricity and ten other children. When her grandparents passed away, she moved to a dangerous favela in Rio. There opportunity came for Drika, as her friends call her, as she was recruited for the area’s first female football team and then the Street Child World Cup, where she captained Brazil and won the tournament.
The circumstances in which Drika led her team to victory were extraordinary. It was common for the team to train while gunfire sounded in the favelas around them. When the bullets came too close, she would lead her team mates to shelter. After that success, Drika developed a passion for coaching and runs her local girls training and education sessions. The success in the Street Child World Cup earned her the respect of others in the favela, and she uses that platform to set an example to the other girls. Drika is an invaluable resource for young girls that need someone to talk to about the issues that are occurring in their lives.
Drika is passionate about gender issues and wants to empower and develop young girls in her community, giving them the same opportunities through sport as she herself had.
As a result of her local organizations support Drika helped run a big tournament for over 30 children in the community. Through the Dallas sports training sessions run by MJYL, Drika was able to climb to the top of a mountain in Rio de Janeiro. Through direct communication with Michael, Drika opened up the opportunity to run a training session recorded by the Olympics channel on Copacabana beach. With her MJYL financial stipend Drika was able to get her team shirts and improve the quality of the training which has led to 10 new youth joining. She hosted a tournament which promoted respect over winning. As a result of the support of MJYL and her local organization she has stepped up her desire to graduate in Physical Education.