Youth program finds boxing adds to its appeal
A Rio de Janeiro youth organization is promoting fighting to bring peace to its neighborhood.
Luta Pela Paz, which translates as Fight for Peace, opened in 2000 as a boxing club to entice local kids to stay off the bullet-ridden streets and out of crime’s way. The organization is located in one of Rio de Janeiro's biggest and most dangerous slum communities -- a home to more than 150,000 people that faces high rates of homicide due to gangs and drug trafficking.
Owner and founder Luke Dowdney started the organization from scratch, with two part-time employees and only enough financial backing to help a limited amount of children. Now, after 12 years, Fight For Peace reaches out to more than two and half thousand young people every year.
Over the years, Luta also expanded its service. It now offers classes in subjects that include English and computer technology. With access to a better education, Dowdney hopes youths will be able to find jobs outside the neighborhood and make a better life for themselves.
Fight For Peace has had so much success in Brazil, that it has opened a similar facility in London to teach the same values.