Making his latest trip to the Brazilian capital of Brasilia on Monday, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke got his first view of the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha before he even visited the stadium.

Heading up a joint FIFA, LOC and Brazilian Ministry of Sport delegation, Valcke dropped in at the Fabrica Social (Social Factory), a special 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ project that is giving vocational skills to nearly 1,200 people. On Monday they were busy printing T-shirts bearing a colourful image of the stadium on the front and back.  

The project is being run by the Federal District of Brasilia’s Special Secretariat for the FIFA World Cup and is helping its participants to supplement their incomes.

“My dream is to be more productive and to get enough money together to buy the kind of professional equipment I have access to here. I want to run my own company,” said 44-year-old Silvana Campos, who earned BRL800 from the goods she made last month alone and is no longer financially dependent on her husband.

Some 15 percent of the places on the programme, which opened in July last year, have been set aside for senior citizens, people with disabilities and youngsters who have been in trouble with the police. Eighty-nine of the participants are women, and they are free to choose from a range of courses on which they are taught embroidery and silkscreen printing, how to cut and stitch fabrics, how to make anything from T-shirts, football kits, balls and nets to rucksacks, bags and briefcases, and how to operate and maintain machines and equipment.

“We talk a lot about the physical legacy, such as the stadiums, urban mobility projects and airports, but in Manaus yesterday we spoke to taxi drivers who are learning new languages,” commented Valcke. “And here today we have seen 1,200 people receiving training and being given the opportunity to improve their quality of life. Vocational training is an incredible legacy of this World Cup, perhaps the most valuable one of all.”

The project’s students are receiving support though the city’s Sem Miseria/Bolsa Familia programme and in addition to earning supplementary income, they also receive help with their food and transport bills. Participants can earn anything up to BRL2,000 a month thanks to the project, which according to the regional government has seen BRL4m invested in the factory’s equipment.

“We have put this project together so that the Special Secretariat for the FIFA World Cup can make it a reality and make the most of what is a vital time for the country,” said Agnelo Queiroz, the Governor of the Federal District of Brasilia. “It underscores our commitment to the people, our commitment to linking this great sporting event we are hosting to government policies that improve their quality of life. The programme also seeks to provide access to microloans, giving participants more independence and the opportunity to set up in business in their own homes.”