Projects for Life: Jiu Jitsu Saves Lives

 

 Last month, 5 athletes, including the head coach of our kid’s competition team, traveled to Sao Paulo to compete in IBJJF Brazilian Nationals. It was a major accomplishment for the project and the students who were able to fundraise enough money to pay for the registration for the tournament and transportation to get from Rio to Sao Paulo.

They were joined by 13 athletes from Cantagalo Jiu Jitsu, another social project located in the same neighborhood.



“I want to congratulate all of you, who once again showed the strength of our project in a very historic tournament here in Rio, which is the State. The work continues with great difficulty, always with great love and dedication for the children, who are the future of the Our country. Record those faces that are going to be shining in the Jiu-jitsu of the world in the future. Until next time ... Once again you have left me with a lot of pride." 
~Douglas Rufino 

view from Terere's house in the Cantagalo Favela

I could easily spout cliché statements about the importance of jiu-jitsu based social projects and social initiatives in the lives of “marginalized youth” but frankly it's unnecessary. Most of our support, if not all, come from private donations from the jiu-jitsu community and ANYONE that has survived more than a couple of classes in a gi, whether they’re lawyer, doctor, or they make a living parking cars and selling dime bags, can attest to just how much jiu-jitsu has changed their lives.


Whether you’re a middle aged white belt making your Naga debut with no one but your two young sons and wife screaming at the sidelines or a World Champion black belt who inspires 1,000 of young kids, jiu-jitsu manages to infiltrate its way into our hearts and change our lives.


The Struggle is Real, But So is the Dream

Projects like Terere Kids Project and Cantagalo Jiu Jitsu have paved the way for a lot of communities to lead better lives. Sports have afforded many kids the opportunity to train and travel not just outside of their communities, but outside of the country as well.


Kids that never left the block, now dream about traveling to California or Portugal to compete in the biggest competitions. Kids that couldn’t tell you the capital of Argentina or how many continents there are, now dream about getting their black belts, being leaders in the community, and traveling the world to teach classes in Abu Dhabi.

Born and Raised in the Cantagalo Favela 
Jonata Gomes now travels the world training and
competing for Checkmat. 

It has been a struggle. It's anything but easy and most definitely not financially gratifying, but over the years more and more projects have spread from Rio’s favelas to gym rooms in New York high school, to libraries in San Francisco where kids learn chess strategies and back takes to the beat of Wu-Tang (you know that good music that was around before all the trap).

Terere's protegee Jhonathan Marques aka Moicano 
is currently spending 6 months with the Mendes brothers 
as part of their Art of Jiu Jitsu program.

It hasn't been easy, but jiu-jitsu teaches us to face challenges head on. So, after three years of making it work through Paypal, Facebook, and the Western Union, we are happy to announce that Terere Kids Project has been officially incorporated as a 501(c) in the United States.

Which means?

It means that we’re legit, with all the financial and legal benefits of operation as a business.
It means that we’re here to stay.

Over the three years that I have been working with the project, I’ve seen an amazing amount of growth and development, not just in the students and kids from the community. But in the teachers and members of the community that have rallied around the cause and made it their personal responsibility to make sure that the kids get snacks, or that new gis get bought, and fans get fixed (well now we have air conditioning that’s to Toro BJJ).

New Projects

 
With Brazilian Nationals out of the way and our new status as an official business, it’s time to move on to the next challenge.

Although we are a business, we still have to file for tax exemption which is a costly process.

U.S. 600

Although Brazilian nationals went well, we still have to support our little ones who will be competing in an upcoming local competition.

U.S. 200

So if you want to show some love and lend a hand you can help out in 1 of 3 ways.


1.    Buy a Favela Jiu Jitsu T-shirt or Hoodie @ www.favelajiujitsu.org
All proceeds from sales on go directly to funding these two projects.

2.    Send a donation via PayPal
Donations sent to the project go to funding these two initiatives and subsidizing the kid’s snack program.

3.    Pay it forward

No money? No problem. You can support the project by sharing our story on social media, following our pages on Instagram and Facebook, or just contributing to your own local BJJ community because where ever there is jiu jitsu, there is a broke jiu jitiero that should be working but is training instead.



Brazilian Nationals

From the FT academy to Sao Paulo! 
Terere Kids Project for Life


Terere Kids Project was able to send 5 athletes to compete in IBJJF Brazilian Nationals in Sao Paulo.

 The project was able to help with transportation and registration fees. To cut cost the kids always stay with Terere's friends where they can cook their own food and find a gym to train in before competing. 

Caio Marques and Gabriel 'moleza" Bacelar competed on Saturday the 22nd with Professor Fabricio Silva there to coach them. They didn’t make it to the podium but they had a great time traveling and watching the other competitors. Brazilian Nationals is one of the biggest tournaments of the year as well as one of the only IBJJF tournaments that allows kids to participate.

Last year registrations closed early and neither Caio or Moleza were able to register in time. This year around everyone made sure to get their payments in before the deadline. 


The day before the tournament Moleza was almost pulled because he wasn't going to make weight. But professor Fabricio handled that! 

Fabyolla Pinheiro and Walter Lopes two of our assistant instructors at the project also competed in Sao Paulo the following weekend.





Thank you to everyone that helped make this possible by donating to the project or purchasing a Favela Jiu Jitsu t-shirt!




Projects for Life

Cantagalo Favela

There was a point in the early days of the project where a local ranking competition would come up and naturally, our kids would want to compete. Terere would ask with a certain degree of hesitation if we would be able to sponsor 7-10 kids.

Local competitions cost about 15-20 dollars per kid, an expense that Terere would put up out of his own money to sponsor a few kids every now and then.


Almost everything in the academy comes straight from Terere. He has never been a selfish person, in fact, selflessness seems to be one of the most salient characteristics of people from the favela. They have nothing, but they will give you the little that they can to make you feel welcome.


It’s the spirit of overwhelming solidarity of the projects unique form of favela jiu-jitsu that attracts so many “gringos” or foreigners to come and train at the project despite the lackluster facilities that major gyms like alliance and De la Riva have that cater to the influx of international athletes.

Sponsored athlete Caio helping out with a favela tour

It was the visitor’s willingness to contribute to the cause that paved the foundation for Terere Kids Project. Faith and Facebook got the project through the first tumultuous years of formation.

Facebook posts got us money for snacks from France, Kimonos from California, and registration fees from Wales.

Now three years after the inception of Terere Kids Project, we don’t just sponsor athletes for local competitions, we are giving kids an opportunity to travel and compete in major national and international competitions.

In 2015 we sent Jhonathan Marques to California along with Alister Shirazi to compete in Pan kids. The project was able to sponsor his passport, visa, flight, and registration thanks to the support sent by jiu jitsu enthusiasts.

This year Jhonathan was able to travel to Portugal to compete in IBJJF Europeans and from there he traveled to the U.S.  to spend 6 months with the Mendes brothers. Fabricio Silva, Terere’s cousin and the teacher of the kid’s class at the project was also supposed to compete in Europeans but at the last minute, he had a problem with his plane ticket.


Professor Fabricio teaching class

It was definitely upsetting when Fabricio wasn’t able to make it to Portugal. It would have been his first time leaving the country and the second time the project was able to sponsor an international trip.

Caio, Fabricio, Walter, and Faby
4 of the 6 athletes that will be competing in Brazilian Nationals

A few weeks later, Terere decided he wanted to send Fabricio AND Walter to London to compete in UAEJJ Grandslam. He was able to get tickets from a friend and the project was able to pay for their registration through the sale of the new Projects for Life t-shirts.

Buy yours here!

In March, Fabricio and Walter will travel outside of Brazil for the first time thanks to the support sent to the project from all over the world. Taking a prior trip outside of the country will hopefully make it easier for them to apply for American visas so that they can potentially compete in IBJJF Worlds in California.

Next on the agenda is IBJJF Brazilian Nationals. The project is now starting a campaign to raise funds to sponsor 4-6 athletes to travel to Sao Paulo compete.

The kids taking pictures of their medals for their profiles in a 
dark gym because the power went out at the Project. 


To help contribute you can send donations via PayPal to TerereKidsProject@gmail.com or you can purchase a Favela Jiu Jitsu Projects for Life t-shirt. Proceeds from shirt sales not only fund project expenses, it also our new initiative to teach kids how to fundraise and other creative ways to finance their upcoming competitions.