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Bernardo is a resident of the Cantagalo community in Rio de Janeiro. He trains Jiu-Jitsu and is a grey belt at Terere Kids Project, and trains there alongside his cousin Miguel. You might know Miguel because he charmed the film crew into giving him the role of the young Terere in the upcoming movie about the legend Fernando Augusto.
Bernardo is a super cheerful, captivating child, full of energy and big dreams.
When he joined the project, he was given a gi to train. International donations made to Terere Kids Project through their 501(c)3 in the United States help pay for a lot at the FT academy in Ipanema.
But we soon realized that a gi wasn’t enough, Bernardo’s needs were much greater than that.
Bernando lives in just one room with his mother and six more siblings.
They struggle with basic necessities like food and rely on social programs from social projects like the Nobre Arte Boxing academy or the Favela Surf Club that provide food baskets.
Eight people living in one room with no shower.
They bathe outside in the same buckets that they wash their clothes in, on the edge of the path where members of the community wind down and descend to the favela.
Some of his family members have already moved out, opting to build wooden houses in a nearby ditch that was condemned by the state for the potential danger of rain induced landslides.
But five years later, they are still standing, and now it’s time for Bernardo’s family to upgrade their small home.
Recently, the deteriorating conditions of the family’s house forced them to seek accommodation with other family while they looked for a way to conduct the repairs.
Projects For Life: Organizing Communities
Since January 2020, members from the community organized with Terere Kids Project and BJJ Cria to help out, and of course we had to get on board to help share the story! So far we have been able to find a donor to support the family with a monthly $90 donation to buy food.
We also needed to make major investments in renovating his house, something that falls way outside the normal functions of a jiu-jitsu social project, but with the help of professor Guilherme, we were able to make it happen.
Guilherme spends his time off the mats working at a bakery and doing odd jobs in construction. He has been working on Bernardo’s house free of charge, on top of training for competitions, and taking on a new role as one of the kids’ instructors at the project.
Guilherme’s help and monthly donations of $200 keep construction going on the project that is estimated to top off at US $1,400! This month thanks to the support of a Brazilian Go Fund Me and Favela Jiu-Jitsu, their construction goal was met!
How To Help!
We are sharing this so that you understand that Jiu-Jitsu and the sport itself really save lives, but there are still people who need [help with] the essentials to survive!
Our work still isn’t done yet!
The family still needs our help. Bernando, his mother, and his 7 brothers and sister all sleep on the floor. So while they wait one more month to finish construction, and 20 more days after that for the roof to dry safely, we still need to raise $1,000 for beds and an indoor bathroom.
You can donate through the Terere Kids Project Paypal to help them reach their goal.
We want to thank all the people who have supported Terere Kids Project in helping Bernardo’s family. Without you, none of this would be possible.
Special thanks to Vitor Veloso for his financial contributions to the family, and Karine Chueng‘s work organizing and advocating for the needs of members of the community, as well as providing amazing content through BJJ Cria without which this article wouldn’t be possible!