Luta pela Paz

Favela Complexo da Maré, Rio de Janeiro and Newham, East London

/ Context:

The English researcher Luke Dowdney completed his Masters degree in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University in 1995, writing his dissertation on the violence suffered by street children of Brazil, specifically in Recife. During his research, Luke lived with young people in situations of high risk and had his mind opened to questions of human rights and violence.  Returning to Brazil from Scotland, Luke was invited in 1997 to work as a volunteer for the Rio de Janeiro-based NGO Viva Rio. By 2000, he had opened Luta pela Paz (Fight for Peace) as a project of Viva Rio, with the aim of providing an alternative to the armed violence and drug trafficking that often formed part of life for the young residents of Complexo da Maré, a complex of 17 favelas in Rio de Janeiro. In November 2007 the Fight for Peace London Academy was established in the borough of Newham, East London. Newham was chosen because in 2007, gun and knife crime affected young people collectively more than anywhere else in the city. The borough’s Youth Offending Team also had a caseload which was 52% above the average caseload for other boroughs in London.

/ Case idea:

Its aim is to provide an alternative to the armed violence and drug trafficking that often formed part of life for the young residents of those communities. In Rio de Janeiro, Fight for Peace offers training on Boxing, Capoeira, Judo, Wrestling, Tae Kwon Do and Jiu Jitsu for children and young people ranging from 7 to 29 years old. Fight for Peace in London offers Muay Thai kickboxing, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts and Fighting Fit Gym to members aged 14 – 25.

/ Summary of the initiative:

Fight for Peace has experienced four stages:

1. Instinctive Reaction – Boxing materialised as a tool to open a dialogue with the hardest to reach young people who were not interested in school or by social projects. These were often young people involved in the trafficking of drugs;

2. Consolidation – Combining an attempt to understand the needs of young people through research in the field;

3. Growth – Replication of Fight for Peace’s work, demonstrating that the model can work in other areas/cultures;

4. Sustainability – Developing the structure of the FFP Group to guarantee the local and international sustainability of the project, and the launch of LUTA Clothing, a social enterprise generating new funds for the group.

/ Collaborative value:

Fight for Peace believes that boxing & martial arts offer a broad appeal and important values to young people: discipline, respect, self-control, identity, a feeling of belonging and pride, amongst others. The adrenaline of combat sports also works in attracting young people to take part, offering life lessons from the training sessions and in the relationships between the pupils and the coach.

/ More:

Fight for Peace (case description document)
Fight for Peace (images/presentation)