Photographer Marcos Muniz documents the Refugees World Cup (or Cup Integration of Refugees), a football championship for displaced communities held in São Paulo, Brazil with representatives from countries around the globe.
Now in its third edition, the 2016 competition recently took place at SESC Itaquera, in Sao Paulo. Togo, Angola, Congo, Syria, Burkina Faso and another eleven countries made up the competing nations. All of them were refugees.
In addition to the finals, the Refugees World Cup had parallel artistic and cultural activities. This year included an unprecedented game for women though it was not part of the official championship.
The aim of the project is to aid the integration of refugees by creating a space for free expression, in addition to showing the reality of life for refugees to the Brazilian public to break prejudices and discrimination.
“For a long time, I’ve wanted to set up a photographic studio in a football stadium to shoot refugees playing soccer,” said Marcos. “I’ve been having fun and playing with some of the community and instead of taking pictures, I prefered to be part of these special relaxed moments.”
“With various coloured cloths, I would invite players from different teams to be the protagonists of my photos. I set up an outdoor studio and left it free for those guys who wanted to be photographed. My objective was to show that these communities are active. They promote not only events like this, but culinary, musical and cultural activities in general. The refugee community in São Paulo is growing every year, especially the Haitian community which was severely affected a few years ago by the earthquake that damaged the very condition of their country and they have passed through great political and economic instability.”
Not only players were photographed, but fans, and the women players of Tanzania. The winner of the World Cup was the Congo.
Marcos Muniz is a documentary photographer. He has focused on projects about borders and immigration in Israel, Palestine territories, Bolivia and Brazil since 2010.
You can see more of this massive project here: destrangeiro.tumblr.com