To-date our gi drive has donated over 350 uniforms to Jiu Jitsu social initiatives in under-resourced communities throughout the Northeast of Brazil. We have been able to distribute gis to different groups and individuals every year since 2017. Here is a video from our first gi donation event (video produced by Team Passos).
These uniforms have been received by several groups, including: a safe house for minors that offers a Jiu Jitsu program to their youth as well as those in need in their local community in Aldeia, Pernambuco, a group running a program in one of the most impoverished towns in all of Brazil, São José da Tapera in the state of Alagoas, and third to the Arte Suave program in Paulista, Pernambuco that have five project locations throughout the city.
Those that are receiving these gis are individuals who, due to extreme financial constraints, would otherwise not train or train without a uniform all together. The local leaders do their very best in providing a program that can meet the dire needs, though they themselves are in extreme financial situations themselves.
The practical impact
The uniform donations present an opportunity for students to participate in the Jiu Jitsu program with the proper attire so that they can fully engage in and learn the sport. To own their own clean and quality uniform instills a sense of dignity and confidence that facilitates the learning and personal growth process that takes place on the mat in this type of community. No longer needing to use either their street clothes or handed down uniforms that have seen better days, the students are free to explore higher aspirations than to be concerned about what to wear to class.
When these uniforms are presented, we see something visibly take place in the students. They light up. It is as though an invisible weight has been lifted from them. One student shared that the gi he recently received was the first new piece of clothing he has ever received in his life.
Through being gifted a gi with no strings attached, what is being communicated to these students is that they are seen and they are valued. When so many of these students are faced with extremely challenging circumstances at home and on the streets where they go unnoticed and beaten down, these gis are so much more than a material donation. These gis are a path to dream again and believe for more in life.
Participating in these types of sports programs are life changing. Classes that would otherwise be out of reach to attend are made available to these students. They now have a safe community and location to consistently turn to. It is here that they learn transformative life skills like self-discipline, perseverance, managing emotions from coaches and mentors. The students gain confidence in their own abilities as they overcome the challenges encountered on the mat. Their world expands as they discover new possibilities and set new goals. And the uniform donations are just one small opportunity we have to facilitate this growth path.
There is a large need for uniforms and belts in the Jiu Jitsu social initiatives not just throughout Brazil but many others places around the world. In each of the projects we visit, there are still students training with handed down uniforms with “community belts” that are recycled as other students progress in their Jiu Jitsu and earn the next level belt. Further still, there are unfortunately so many more students who must train without a gi or belt all together. We are working to change that.
In addition to the uniform drive, DreamRoot is committed to continue to partner with these local leaders by providing instructor coaching and mentorship, program development, networking, and seed investments. By equipping and strengthening these leaders who are doing this work day in and day out, these life changing programs will be able to flourish and multiple other local leaders to transform the reality of so many communities in need, both at home in the U.S. and abroad.
Let's expand the impact
If you would like to be a part of this movement and to make a difference in the lives of some amazing people in desperate need, we invite you to connect with us. If you have any gis or belts that you would like to donate, please swing by Team Passos Jiu Jitsu headquarters in Sterling, VA or mail to their address: 22446 Davis Drive, Suite 153, Sterling, VA.
Our DreamRoot leadership team makes trips for leader training and support where we also deliver the donations to various Jiu Jitsu programs in need throughout Brazil, the US and soon to other communities around the world. Additionally, if you know of a project in need, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin a partnership vetting process.
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