Doing it with Words and Gloves

04/01/2015 – Martha Rodney and Moses Dempster, two young boxers from Trinidad and Tobago, won silver medals at the Caribbean Championships in Guyana in December, much to the delight of their coaches and all at their community-based organisation, East Port of Spain Development Company.

These remarkable triumphs marked the first time that these young competitors had represented their country – a mere six months after taking up the sport.

Martha, from Beetham Gardens, and Moses, from Sea Lots West, are participants in the Fighting Chance and Spoken Word programme in two communities affected by crime and violence in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The programme is run by East Port of Spain Development Company Ltd (EPOSDCL), who are part of the network of 135 community-based organisations in Fight for Peace’s Global Alumni Programme (GAP).

EPOSDCL joined the Global Alumni Programme last year with a fledgling boxing project in one community involving approximately 50 young people. With financial support from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s Citizen Security Programme (CSP) and consultancy support from Fight for Peace, the organisation has expanded its programme to two more communities as well as increasing its numbers by over 60% and integrating personal development and self-expression into its activities.

In a short time, the programme has demonstrated extremely encouraging results. When asked about the difference that participating in Fighting Chance has made, it was found that 91% of participating young people feel more confident, 83% feel more motivated, 77% say their relationship with their family has improved and 100% feel more positive about the future.

On Thursday 10th December, EPOSDCL held a celebratory “Doing it with Words and Gloves” event to mark the completion of the first cycle of the Fighting Chance and Spoken Word programme, which included a boxing display event with young boxers from the home club and visiting gyms and spoken word activities between bouts. The event provided an excellent opportunity for so called opposing communities to work together with a single goal in mind, resulting in a number of people highly commending the programme and the success it has achieved.

The Boxing Board of Trinidad and Tobago took the opportunity to congratulate everyone involved and made a plea for the programme to continue and expand. Congratulations to everyone involved!