Rio de Janeiro, the state where Abraco Campeao (AC) is located, faces significant challenges. The city is increasingly affected by drug and police violence and has been under military intervention since February 2018. In certain neighborhoods, the murder rate is as high as 140 per 100,000 people. AC runs its programs in Complexo de Alemao, one of the least developed favelas in Rio de Janeiro, where 40% of residents live on less than half of the minimum wage ($130 per month), one in 12 families live in houses with four or more people per bedroom, illiteracy levels are the second highest in the city, and 26% of children are born to teenage mothers. Between February and December 2018, there were at least 238 shootouts in Complexo de Alemao the second highest number in Rio. Within this context, it is much more difficult for young people to reach their potential. This is evidenced in local educational attainment: 14% of local youth failed in primary education exams in 2014, 2% dropped out of school, and 25% repeated at least two years of school. These problems are compounded at the secondary school level: 22% of local young people dropped out of school in 2014, by far the highest figure in the city.
AC’s organizational profile can best be fully described by telling the life story of its founder and Executive Director, Alan Duarte. Aged 30, Duarte was born and raised in Complexo do Alemao. At 17, he developed an interest in boxing and started participating in classes at Luta pela Paz, in the neighboring favela of Mare. At Luta pela Paz, Duarte quickly stood out as a mentor for the project’s younger participants, and soon began teaching boxing classes to children. It was then that he realized that Luta pela Paz’s methodologies could be replicated in his own community. In 2014 he founded AC. The organization runs the following programs:
EMpower’s first regular grant to Abraco Campeao (AC) will help the organization launch a girls-only boxing program aimed at improving participants self-esteem, developing leadership and life skills and improving their academic performance. The program, which will target 30 adolescent girls between the ages of 10-19 as well as their parents, will focus on combating harmful gender norms and providing psycho-social support. It will foster a safe and encouraging space, as participants engage in girls-only boxing classes as well as workshops on gender equity and reproductive health issues. By making sports practice and program retention its key vectors, the program roots its methodology in wider evidence on the correlation between girls’ athletics and academic performance.
Primary Location: Rio de Janerio, Brazil
Funded Since: 2019
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