Nine Richmond players and two young Indigenous men will have the unique opportunity to explore the role of sport in reconciliation and social change when they depart for an inter-cultural exchange to Brazil tomorrow (Wednesday, October 9).

The Reconciliation Exchange project, called ‘Changing the Score’, has been
developed by RMIT and Bluestone Edge in partnership with Richmond.  It will
run over eight days and centre on Rio de Janeiro’s ‘favelas’ – a
highly-disadvantaged area of Brazil.

The favelas are densely-populated slums located within, or on the outskirts
of Rio, that are challenged by poverty and crime.

Jake King, Alex Rance, Shane Edwards, Reece Conca, Steve Morris, Matt Dea,
David Astbury, Daniel Jackson and Dylan Grimes will participate in the
project that focuses specifically on the potential for sport to act as a
vehicle for social development.

Steven Morris – who won the David Mandie Community Award at the Jack Dyer
Medal last Monday night — admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect on the

“It is a city that is going to be very unfamiliar and it can be dangerous in
parts, and there’s some uncertainty of what we are going to be confronted
with,” he said.

“I’m really interested to see how leadership plays a role in their
communities and the role of sport. Sport can play a huge role in bringing
people together and giving them a common bond.”

Richmond’s Leadership Development Manager, Wayne Campbell, who also is
attending the trip with the players, believes the experience will open the
players’ eyes to a life very different to football.

“It’s an opportunity for our players to experience and learn from different
cultures and ways of living, and see how the power of sport might build
connections,” Campbell said.

“We’ll be heading well and truly off the tourist trail. I have no doubt that
there will be confronting moments. We’ll be visiting places of extreme
poverty and crime – places that our players have never been exposed to.”

RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow and Co-Director of Global
Reconciliation, Dr Elizabeth Kath, said the trip was the next step in a
series of reconciliation journeys that use sport and other everyday
activities to build community resilience.

“This visit is a learning exchange, allowing Australian and Brazilian
participants to share knowledge and experiences that we hope will inform and
enrich their future work in communities.”

The project group also includes sport-for-development professionals and two
young men from the Laguntas program, a young indigenous pathways program run
by Richmond’s Korin Gamadji Institute.

Changing the Score is funded by RMIT University, Bluestone Edge, Richmond
Football Club, Karoon Gas, Rio Tinto, Costa Foundation, Drapac Group and IBISS.

“Karoon believes that sport is a universal way to promote social inclusion
in its international areas of operation, and for this reason Karoon is
delighted to announce its support for the ‘Changing the Score’ project.
Karoon has been active in Brazil since 2007 and initiated support for the
project to create awareness in Australia of the difficulties being faced in
the low socio-economic communities of large cities across Brazil,” said
Karoon’s South American Director, Ed Munks.

The trip will take place from October 9-18, with video and written content
published on throughout its duration.