The Ambassador for BrazilFoundation Australia, famous Australian football player Harry O’Brien, visited the Foundation office in Rio de Janeiro on November 9th. He was received by the executive director of the BrazilFoundation, Susane Worcman, and he thoroughly charmed the members of the foundation team.

During his visit, Harry spoke of the struggles he has overcome in his past: “I suffered a lot of prejudice in Australia. Australia is modern, but socially behind. During my childhood everyone would always ask me: ‘Where are you from?’ and I would say that I was born in Brazil and then they would say ‘so you are Brazilian!’ He also spoke about the reason that led him to play local football: “to integrate myself into Australian culture and make friends, I did what everyone else was doing, play football”.

Harry is 25 years old and has been playing for Collingwood Football Club since he was 18.When asked about the reason that led such a successful young man to be so dedicated to the non-profit sector, Harry simply said: “the true illness is not in the body, but in the minds of people who are capable of alleviating the suffering of others, yet do not do so.”

The athlete was born in Morro da Serrinha, in Madureira, in the “zona norte” (the northern zone) of Rio de Janeiro. His mother is a Brazilian dancer and father a Congolese dancer. At the age of three, Harry moved to Australia, but he returned to Brazil as a teenager to find his origins.

When in Rio, Harry always stays at his aunt’s house, who lives in Serrinha and is responsible for maintaining Jongo as an important part of the community’s identity. Through the BrazilFoundation, Harry supported Jongo da Serrinha, making it possible for this effort to continue in the community. At the end of his visit, Harry was happy to reaffirm his connections with BrazilFoundation Australia.