media release

Brazilian ingenuity inspires AkzoNobel to create sports areas for favela kids

Children in a Brazilian favela are enjoying unexpected opportunities to test their all-round sporting skills – all thanks to the inspiring and imaginative use of paint.

With the world's biggest sporting event about to take place on their doorstep, youngsters in Rio's Santa Marta favela are discovering hidden talents after AkzoNobel's Coral paint brand launched its Unexpected Courts project.

Supported by Rio de Janeiro's Sports and Leisure Secretary, the initiative involves using paint to create courts and spaces in surprising places, where children can play alternative sports such as basketball, volleyball, hockey and table tennis.

"The idea was really inspired by the creativity and improvisation of young Brazilians," explained Fernando Domingues, Marketing Director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints in Latin America. "They are football crazy and can create a football pitch out of almost any space. We've just used that same spirit of adventure and imagination to create areas for them to enjoy sports they don't normally get the chance to play."

Through the simple but ingenious use of paint, seven unexpected courts have been created in Santa Marta to date, including a walkway that has been turned into a running track, a set of stairs and a wall that have become a basketball shoot-out zone, and a series of clothes lines and pillars that have been transformed into a volleyball court.

"This is a fantastic example of what we're trying to achieve with our Human Cities initiative," said Daniel Campos, Managing Director of the company's Decorative Paints business in Latin America.

"It's all about inspiring people, creating a greater sense of pride, energizing communities and making life more liveable. It's also something that can be replicated anywhere and is a great way of bringing essential color to local neighborhoods."

AkzoNobel has been working with the Santa Marta favela for a number of years through the company's global Let's Colour initiative. To date, around 20,000 liters of Coral paint has been used to transform more than 300 buildings.

A series of posters has been created explaining how the courts can be used to play the various games. These can be found on

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