Walter Bayliss was an intern at Fight for Peace in Rio for three months as part of his year abroad from Bristol University in the UK. Here is an account of his time with us:
Starting work at Fight for Peace in Rio three months ago was a daunting but exciting prospect. I had been sat at home in England three weeks before, researching the organisation and Complexo da Maré, to learn as much as possible before I arrived. It slowly dawned on me that not only would I have to improve my Portuguese, but that it was going to be a very different experience to anywhere I had worked before.
I came across Fight for Peace while researching possible charities to volunteer at for a few months in Rio. It immediately stood out from any others, and I was determined to get involved. On arriving, I was struck by the scale of the organisation. I had visited the academy in London briefly, which really impressed me, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to see the work being done there, and I had no idea what it would be like in Rio. To see the work being done in Complexo da Maré, the passion of all the people involved, and the way in which it had become a core part of the community was amazing.
Its an overused cliché, but there is a real sense of family at the organisation, largely due to the fact that many people have been attending Fight for Peace their whole lives, often as both young participants and later employees. The positive atmosphere in the organisation is everywhere, from the martial arts classes to the office, and through to the Global Alumni workshops. The unanimous desire to succeed among the staff, and the results that you can see in the community are particularly affecting. It was inspirational.
Over the three months, I worked on both the fundraising team with Stephanie Lake, researching new beneficiary opportunities, and the communications team, with Mariana Mendes and Katy Bailes, helping with their social media, news articles, and video edits. With such a high bar set by everyone at Fight for Peace, I was motivated to do everything I could do help. In just three months I have learnt a huge amount, not only about research and communications, but working in such a different environment taught me a much broader range of skills.
And of course, the privilege of working in a city like Rio isn’t something that comes around often. I will really miss my time spent at Fight for Peace, and being a part of such a fantastic community, but want to thank everyone involved for making it so memorable.