Brasil is a country with many paradoxes, and the biggest one, obviously caused by colonialism, capitalism and other human errors, is the distribution of riches. While a few people have money they would never need, most of our population struggles to survive on a daily basis. Equal access to education and health is a far fetched dream in a country where the politicians are extremely corrupt and always align themselves with the upper classes.
Our black belt Igor Rodrigues, coming from a poor working family, always found support in his father and mother to do what he loves, the Jiu Jitsu, and even though he has very limited financial resources, he decided to share his passion for the sport by teaching it to the poor kids in his community, doing his share to fight the poverty in his area.
Four years ago he started the project “Angels of Freedom” and found support from a local entrepreneur, João Carrilho, that gives kids Gis and pay their expenses in competitions. There are currently 45 kids attending the classes regularly and they not only learn martial arts but also improve their grades and attendance in school, contributing to a chance of a better future to them and the whole community of Praia Rasa, an impoverished neighbourhood in the city of Buzios.
We are confident that some of those kids will have a better perspective and are looking forward to bring this idea to other communities in the near future, always acting locally in the part of Rio de Janeiro state known as “Região dos Lagos” and hopefully this will inspire others to do likewise in their own places. This idea is not original, as in Rio de Janeiro there are other projects in favelas and poor areas, and all of them are succeeding in keeping kids out of the drug business and its dangers, giving them a better option and therefore protecting the future of the whole country. What sets Angels of Freedom apart is that it does not count with any government support and has a teacher that comes not from a rich family that decided to help people, but from someone that grew in the same community with the same scarce resources and decided to make a difference even before reaching high living standards himself.
We are very proud to have Igor as one of our black belts, he keeps competing and last year left Brasil for the first time and became the first black belt to spend 2 months teaching the sport in the Island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Europe.
Black Belt rooster weight finals – World Championships 2008 CBJJE
Arena Buzios Challenge – Igor Rodrigues X Felipe Salles