Kapacidade: Kyra Gracie’s social project
While I was looking for some information about Kyra, one of the Gracie’s family jiu-jitseiras, I discovered that the BJJ black belt is also very active outside the mat. With Brazilian jiu-jitsu she helps children from Rio’s favelas to become accomplished citizen.
The wish to share BJJ’s richness
Ryan Gracie, her uncle, has been the one who inspired Kyra with the association he has created to help poor children. As she was visiting the association centre with him, Kyra was touched by the situation of the beneficiaries. She became aware that she can also do something to offer to these people all what BJJ has given to her.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a social action tool
In collaboration with her friend Bruno Neves, Kyra Gracie has founded the association Kapacidade in 2010. Together and with BJJ, they aim to open new horizons to extremely poor children who also have difficult relationships with their often absent parents.
With other volunteers, they teach jiu-jitsu to 150 children aged from 5 to 13. The goal is to make these children recover their self-esteem and to teach them respect, discipline and competitiveness. These values will help them for their personal development.
Jiu-jitsu lessons take place before or after school. In addition to training children get a meal and extra-school assistance. In return children have to attend school, get good marks and contribute to Kapacidade’s good reputation. If they get into trouble at school or in the street they will be expelled several days or definitely if they do it again.
Success and increasing needs
« I see kids competing and making major improvements in their lives. There improvements in behaviour, socializing in school, as well as the relationship with parents. The goal is not to have a world champion but a citizen with the ability to change their fate” says Kyra Gracie.
The Institute Kapacidade relies only on donations. Its limited budget does not allow to respond to all its needs. Thus around one hundred children stay on a waiting list and children over 13 can not access to Kapacidade despite of enough capacity.
I feel sorry to learn that moreover if we stood back and look at all the business made around BJJ, the costs for some gyms and then compare these to this association’s needs… The effort to help development of this kind of association does not seem that excessive!
I wanted to highlight this nice project because I trust BJJ’s values have to be passed on and outside the mat. It opens oneself to other people and spreads the nobility of this combat sport. As a conclusion it shows that you do not need much to help the others. Everybody is able to act at his level. Just give it a try!
If you want to help Kapacidade, you can donate in the form of money or kimonos (you may have an old one in your closet).