A Martial Arts School Gives Hope In One Of Rio's Most Dangerous Favelas
Huffington Post - 7 months
RIO DE JANEIRO ― Children who grow up in the Brazilian favela of Maré, one of Rio’s most dangerous slums, face alarming levels of violence and poverty. The sprawling neighborhood, which is home to approximately 130,000 people, is a frequent target of harsh military and police crackdowns, as well as deadly conflict from the area’s drug trade.
Ahead of the World Cup in Rio in 2014, the government sent almost 3,000 troops into Maré as part of a “pacification” plan for favelas, but crime and violence has continued. Despite the myriad problems that life in the favela entails, one Brazilian martial artist José Aldo conceived of a project that gives hope and purpose to Maré’s youth.
Aldo opened a martial arts school in his name in the favela last year. So far, José Aldo Fight School has served 534 students, between the ages of 6 and 22, giving them a chance to cope with the hardships of their daily lives through practicing judo, jiu-jitsu, and boxing.
“Here, we replace a gun fo
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