Simson Gym

Location: Paramaribo, Suriname
Combat sport: Kickboxing
Focus areas: Youth engagement, crime reduction, violence prevention
Established: 2000
Joined the FFP Alumni: November 2012
Contact: Angelo Simson

The Simson Gym sits at the heart of all things kickboxing in Suriname. They train and promote elite fighters, put on competition events, operate a commercial gym, and the Founder and Director Angelo Simson is a double intercontinental Champion in the sport. Alongside those commercial sport activities, Simson Gym delivers a range of social interventions using kickboxing to strengthen mind as well as the body, and to help young people develop critical life skills such as fighting for goals, never giving up and maximizing potential. They call this being Simsonized!

Simson Gym activities have been deployed in a youth detention centre and in communities across Paramaribo which suffer from considerable levels of poverty, crime and unemployment. But as well as working with vulnerable children, Simson Gym includes in young people kids from supportive backgrounds and neighbourhoods who just want to kickbox to stay in shape, or compete to become champion. This inclusive cross-community strategy is designed to help build bridges between young people and to combat exclusion.

Working with FFP and the Surinamese Ministry of Sport, Simson Gym is developing plans for a purpose-built Academy which will house a comprehensive programme of kickboxing alongside formalised youth development interventions. An overarching social enterprise model is also being established which will help the different commercial and social activities come together and support each other in terms of profile, funding and partnership building.