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