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Stars Foundation invests in organisations and ideas that transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally.

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Luta pela Paz

The Challenge

Luta pela Paz was founded in Complexo da Maré, a neighbourhood of 17 favelas in Rio de Janeiro. 

With increasingly high levels of poverty, there is limited access to education and employment, and young people face prejudice when trying to find work outside the favela. 

Nearly half of the annual homicides in Brazil take place in Rio de Janeiro alone.

Partly in response to the issue of poverty in the community, young people in Rio's favelas turn to drug trafficking gangs. Maré is territorially divided by two warring drug factions, and young people openly carry war-grade weaponry.

The Response

Luta pela Paz uses boxing and martial arts to deliver education and personal development programmes to young people in three of Maré's favela communities. 

The organisation's prevention and rehabilitation model engages young people in sport and physical activities while also offering them new opportunities for learning. 

Along with mentoring and support to enter the world of employment, participants are given the chance to take responsibility for their lives and act as role models for others. 

Between 2009 and 2014, 450 young people enrolled in Novos Caminhos ('New Pathways'), Luta pela Paz's education programme, and 250 beneficiaries obtained a primary or secondary school diploma. 

According to an external evaluation, 73% of Luta pela Paz participants Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET) progressed to education, training and employment, and 70% were less inclined to commit crimes, carry weapons or join a gang.

Photos: Dado Galdieri