Trip Report From Brazil


It has been exciting to see so many DreamRoot initiatives come to life this year. We’ll share all of the details in the upcoming Annual Report but we couldn’t wait to tell you about some recent accomplishments.

A few weeks ago, we went to Brazil to visit with local leaders and community members where we saw first-hand the impact of their social initiatives. Here are highlights from the trip:

 

Jiu Jitsu Camp - Cultural Exchange - Gift of Gis

In partnership with Team Passos Jiu Jitsu, 12 jiu jitsu students from the United States arrived in Brazil for a jiu jitsu camp and cultural exchange with their Brazilian peers. It was the week of a lifetime full of cross-cultural connections, joint training sessions, making new friends and enjoying meals together. Highlights included:

  • Touring the city of Recife, also known as the Venice of Brazil, and the capital of the northeastern state Pernambuco.
  • Visiting jiu jitsu academies and social initiatives including the Arte Suave / DreamRoot Training Center. Local leaders Jhon and Eneide Alves completed the training center’s renovations last year.
  • Facilitating a jiu jitsu leadership workshop for emerging leaders and Assistant Coaches.
  • Presenting a total of 150 donated jiu jitsu uniforms (gis) and 50 belts to local leaders so they could distribute them to students in need. Every U.S. student brought an extra suitcase filled with jiu jitsu gis that were received throughout the year from generous donors.

For many students, this was their first gi. To have their own uniform instills a sense of dignity and confidence which enhances learning and growth on the mat. During this trip, a boy from the Sertão DreamRoot Training Center shared that the donated gi was actually the first piece of new clothing he has ever received. And many of the gis were delivered to an orphanage in Aldeia, Pernambuco run by DreamRoot local leader Jesse Hall.

 

 

Sertão DreamRoot Training Center

Another high point on this trip was the grand opening of the Sertão DreamRoot Training Center on October 16th. It was a wonderful celebration, complete with games and treats.

We broke ground on Sertão DreamRoot Training Center last Fall and it has quickly become a center of activity, hosting events such as:

  • A breast cancer awareness and prevention workshop during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
  • Multiple jiu jitsu classes every week.
  • Children’s educational games and activities every Saturday.
  • Dia Das Criancas or Children’s Day holiday festivities

Reflections on This Visit to Brazil

As you may imagine, there were many poignant moments during this trip. It was powerful to witness true bonds of friendship, respect and encouragement formed among students and leaders from the U.S. and Brazil. One young man explained that our presence gives them hope and energy to keep going.

We are grateful for the local leaders – they run social initiatives and create safe and supportive spaces for community members to experience:

  • Healthy connections
  • Predictable routines
  • Activities and relationships that build self-esteem
  • An alternative to going to the streets or isolating in an empty house

DreamRoot exists to reverse cycles of poverty in underserved communities where people dream of a life that is free of hunger, despair and suffering. We do this by strengthening local leaders and providing training, resources and networks to help launch local initiatives that transform their communities and lead to sustainable social and economic growth.

Thank you for joining us in changing lives and generations to come. Stay tuned for the Annual Report to hear more about these amazing accomplishments.

 

WRITTEN BY

Amy Passos

Executive Director, DreamRoot Leadership Institute

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