Born in a violent and neglected favela community in Rio de Janeiro, Alan Duarte has suffered immense personal tragedy. He has now lost ten close family members to gun violence and he doesn't want to see that happen to anyone else.
Now, through his boxing project, Abraço Campeão (Embracing Champions), Alan is fighting to build a better future for his son and his community.
Abraço Campeão takes a holistic approach and combines boxing with alternative education to realise the potential of the young people in the community. Without any salaries and with very little support, Alan and his team are have seen the project grow from 10 members to over 80. All this whilst negotiating the difficulties of working in a conflict zone. There were 225 shootouts registered in the community in 2016-2017, involving both drug gangs and the police. The rate of police killings in the community is higher than the homicide rate in most entire countries. Add to this the economic and political crises in Brazil and it's a bleak scenario for young people, especially in lower income communities.
Alan's story recently became the subject of award winning documentary "The Good Fight" and he is now able to give salaries to some of the staff and cover the basic costs. The team currently work 6 days a week to provide:
- Boxing classes for children and young adults with tournaments for athletes able to compete.
- Personal development sessions twice monthly, covering a range of topics pertinent to local young people, including gender awareness, sexuality and racism.
- Youth leadership, through “Champion Generation” – a group of elected young people representing the voice of participants.
- Cultural excursions.
However they are badly stretched and not meeting the huge demand. There is potential for Alan and his team to do so much more and they desperately want to expand the reach of their life saving work and also add to their offering.
£5,000 will allow Alan to open more classes to support more young people through boxing and personal development.
£10,000 will allow him to introduce a homework club to help local teenagers stay in school.