USA Jiu Jitsu Takes Action To Help Kids From The Favela In Rio De Janeiro

Posted: Oct 03 2014

Rio de Janeiro's Favela

Picture of Rio de Janeiro's Favela

Between December of 1987 and November of 2001, 3,937 residents of Rio de Janeiro under the age of 18 died a violent death. That is over eight times the number of minors who died in the West Bank (between Jordan and Israel) in the same time period. Being a child is hard enough without fearing for your life from gangs and drug lords. The only option for most of these children is to join with the drug lords and become a soldado, which only perpetuates the circle of violence. This is the life of several children in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, the slums.

However, USA Jiu Jitsu is trying to help change things for these unfortunate children.

Working in tandem with the BOPE, a special task force of the Rio police force that is feared by criminals and highly respected by everyone else, USAJJ is providing assistance trying to get kids into Jiu Jitsu, not drugs.

Gilson Fernandez, JJI Black Belt

Gilson Fernandez, 3rd Degree Black Belt

“Papa” John Gorman has partnered with Gilson Fernandez who is a member of USAJJ and Jiu Jitsu International. Mr. Fernandez is not only a Jiu Jitsu trainer and BOPE special agent, but is also a 3rd degree Black Belt and trains Jiu Jitsu referees.

The mission of the program is to encourage children to set positive goals and then reward the students when they are reached. The goals that are set include things like learning English and going to school. The children are taught Jiu Jitsu in the same training center as the BOPE, which is one of the safest places in Rio de Janeiro.

USAJJ has been helping to provide gis and equipment. Papa John feels this is a chance to give back to the nation that founded our sport. They really do need our help, and we are proud to support the BOPE cause.

Papa John with Gilson and the Favela Kids at BOPE

Papa John with Gilson Fernandez and the Favela Kids at BOPE

Maybe with the help of USA JJ, today’s favelas children will be tomorrow’s Jiu Jitsu Olympians!

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