Selected as Brazil’s Young Change-Maker (YCM) at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lillehammer 2016, Krishna Memere is now spreading the Olympic values in the favelas as part of the IOC’s Young Change-Maker+ Programme.
How were you chosen to represent Brazil as a YCM at the 2016 Winter YOG?
“I have worked at the Brazilian Olympic Institute at the Brazil Olympic Commission (BOC) since 2012. I was also a member of the first Association of National Olympic Committees Youth Commission, and it was because of my involvement with these organisations and my love of the Olympic Movement that I was selected to go to Lillehammer.”
How did you see your role as a YCM in Lillehammer?
“My goal was to inspire the Brazilian athletes and help them understand what being part of the Olympic Movement truly meant. I encouraged them to think of ‘Friendship, Excellence and Respect’ in everything they did during the Games. More practically, I was there to help them engage with the fantastic ‘Learn & Share’ activities that were available.”
What is your favourite YOG memory?
“I can still remember so clearly my time in the Youth Olympic Village and at the competition venues, and the intensity of the YOG. There was so much emotion and excitement, everyone living in the moment. My favourite experience, though, was the way the young Brazilian athletes were in many ways strangers at the start because of the geography of our country but became true friends during the YOG. They became a family, and it taught me that you can be 6,000 miles from home but still in your heart feel ‘at home’.”
How did you become involved in the YCM+ Programme?
“I had always wanted to create a social project in Brazil and, thanks to the YCM+ Programme, I had the opportunity to make my dream a reality. I believe that sport can have a life-changing impact on the lives of young children and teenagers and that communities can believe in a better future through an understanding of the Olympic Movement.”
Tell us about the inspiration and delivery of your YCM+ Programme.
“My initiative is called ‘United by Sport’ and is based on the principles of inclusion and the Olympic values. It took place in a favela in Rio de Janeiro in June this year and was based on what I learned from the ‘Learn & Share’ events at the YOG. It involved a judo demonstration from the Brazilian judoka Wagner Lyrio, an ‘embaixadinhas’ (keepy-up) competition for the children; and three Brazilian YOG athletes who had competed in Lillehammer in skeleton and the bobsleigh came to talk about their Olympic experiences and their sports. There were workshops about having a healthy lifestyle and a theatre of Olympic history where the children could learn more about the Games. There was also an Oral Hygiene Stand where four dentists provided fluorine-preventive treatment and handed out dental kits.”
How many children attended the event?
“A total of 56 local children aged between three and 14 came, and there were also 17 volunteers to help run all the different elements of the programme.”
Did you achieve your goals with ‘United by Sport’?
“Yes, I believe we were able to communicate that the Olympic values can be part of everyone’s everyday lives and we also delivered important practical messages about dental hygiene and a healthy diet. The children had lots of fun, and I was very happy after the event that we were able to make a donation to a social centre in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes area of the city.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I have just completed a postgraduate course and I am now studying French. Professionally, I hope to expand my role at the BOC. I also hope to be able to continue as a YCM and grow ‘United by Sport’ in my country. I am planning another event later this year at a social centre or shelter and hope it will again spread the message of inclusion and the Olympic Movement.”
The YCM+ Programme supported by Panasonic is a social entrepreneurship through sport initiative. YCM applicants can submit a project to the IOC, using sport for a better world in their community, and the best projects are allocated a maximum of CHF 5,000 of seed funding. Themes cover Healthy & Active Living, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Peace & Development.