Committed to serving as a positive role model to others

30/01/2017 – 22 year old Jeferson Costa has been doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a decade. Having started the sport at his church, he honed his skills at the Fight for Peace Rio Academy and today is driven by using martial arts for good:

I began training martial arts at my church. I did Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) there for one year and I really enjoyed it, but sadly the project ended. When I heard that Fight for Peace had started a BJJ session for its members, I began training in the martial art here at the Academy. The coaching was completely different from the other projects and this made me want to stay at Fight for Peace.

In 2013, I joined the Rio Academy Youth Council, representing the wrestling class, and in 2015 I began representing the jiu-jitsu athletes on the Council. At the start of 2016 I left the Youth Council to allow other young people to gain leadership experience and I began to dedicate myself to helping the Sports Coordinator, Luciana Neder. I was also asked by my church to teach jiu-jitsu to young people there and I really wanted to be part of this project and to help people.

The training sessions at the church were good and I had lots of students but unfortunately the classes were discontinued. I was really sad because the children there really wanted to have class and I didn’t want to abandon them. I talked to Luciana and Fight for Peace Youth Leadership Coordinator Lola Werneck, and they gave me lots of support. This was crucial in helping me to create a project which enabled me to continue training jiu-jitsu to the children.

That’s how I started the Recomeçar project. I found a place where I could hold the training sessions and, with the support of others, the project began to take shape. I wanted to help get the children off the streets as children that have lots of free time can end up getting into things they shouldn’t. Now they have the chance to see that there is another option, there are other heroes, other types of people to emulate.

Today I can say that my dream is being realised – I feel that I am living it. I always wanted to be out front, leading people and positively influencing them. This year, the Recomeçar Project is predicted to become part of Fight for Peace’s Maré Unida project, which seeks to train, upskill and unite people from different parts of the Maré community.