A New Beginning at Fight for Peace

10/05/2017 – Jarde Lopes da Silva is 24 years old and has been with Fight for Peace for 12 years. After a difficult start to life in the Maré community, he found stability with Fight for Peace and is now a full time employee at the Rio Academy. Here he tells us how, with the support of Fight for Peace, he was able to get his life back on track:

I was 13 years old at the height of my rebelliousness. I was into all sorts: all-nighters, drugs, parties, friendships, relationships and everything else that a life without boundaries could offer.  

I had a friend at the time who found out what I was up to and she was worried. She went straight to someone who she knew was working at Fight for Peace, Mirian, and told her all about me. At that moment my life was a battlefield; on one side the streets and on the other Mirian and Fight for Peace.  

After much insistence, and many visits and invitations from Mirian, I was eventually persuaded to go along to Fight for Peace and find out what it was all about. At first, all I wanted to do was get out of there, but after a while I started enjoying the dynamic there – the integration classes, the trips to cinemas, theatres and museums and all the rest.

My main battle was inside of myself, mainly when I started really enjoying going to the Academy. The boxing lessons gave me some kind of security I guess. Only my friends knew I was boxing, but they respected me more.

Having gone through pretty much all the steps in place at the organisation (member, Youth Councillor, Pathways student and volunteer) I am now assistant to the two Personal Development Coordinators, Rosane and Gilson, and I am involved in a training programme run by Lola, the Youth Leadership Coordinator, along with other young people who have become employees.

The training programme has helped me so much. We talk about our behaviour as employees, reflect on how we talk to the other employees and discuss questions of diversity of opinions within an organisation. We also talk about beliefs, values, customs, income and many other things. Today I feel calm in a discussion and I try to organise my money better.

The programme has allowed me to think deeply about the roles and responsibilities of being a member of staff at Fight for Peace, having previously been a young person at the organisation – a place I consider my family!