Founded by Alan Duarte, ABRAÇO CAMPEÃO (Embracing Champions) is a Brazilian NGO that combines martial arts with alternative education to help young people make positive life decisions.
Alan has lost 10 close family members to gun violence. He doesn’t want to see that happen to anyone else.
With minimal support and working within a conflict zone, Alan has seen the project grow from 10 members taught by just himself, to over 140 students with a team of 10 staff and various volunteers. The team currently work 6 days a week to provide:
- BOXING CLASSES – for children and young adults. The basis of the curriculum and a way of teaching fitness, self respect, respect for others, discipline and determination.
- KARATE and LUTA LIVRE –twice weekly classes recently launched and run by volunteer instructors.
- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CLASSES – twice weekly sessions, split between adults and adolescents and obligatory for all participants in AC’s sports classes. Classes are led by a registered social worker and conducted in group discussion format, addressing topics from race and gender equality to political participation.
- YOUTH LEADERSHIP – through “Champion Generation”, a group of elected young people representing the voice of participants in the project.
- EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT CLASSES – available to students between their seventh and ninth year of primary school, AC holds weekly Maths and Portuguese Language courses to support struggling students who are at risk of dropping out of school.
- TARGETED MENTORING – for young people with greater need and difficulties.
- CULTURAL EXCURSIONS – trips to parts of the Rio de Janeiro that the young people from communities such as Complexo do Alemão usually have little access to.
- COMMUNITY EVENTS – Abraço Campeão is becoming well known and is now able to draw community-wide support for local events including: martial arts tournaments, food drives, toy donations, community cleaning days and group birthday celebrations.
- LOCAL SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP (pilot) – Abraço Campeão curently offers group boxing classes to students at Escola Bahia, in order to reach larger numbers of young people within a formal educational setting.