Fight for a Kid is the social project that works directly with underprivileged children who are living in poverty and may not have access to basic necessities, such as food, clean water, sanitation and medicine. Fight for a kid, today helps children and adolescents in the “ghettos” (favelas) “Curicica” and “Rocinha”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also the community in Macapá, North of Brazil. The project is to provide an opportunity for humble children and young people allowing those discoveries to influence the trajectory of their lives and those of their families. Through the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, these children have been discovering a power to change their circumstances and situation, a power to choose a good way forward, not one riddled by drugs and violence. Kids on the streets selling water or asking for some money to help their families is a typical image you will see in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. The report from Agência Brasil – SP published in April 2018, In Brazil, over 40 percent of children and adolescents 14 years old or younger live in a poor home—a total of 17.3 million young people. Those facing extreme poverty amount to 5.8 million, or 13.5%. Poverty and extreme poverty are characterized by a monthly household income per capita of up to half and a fourth of Brazil’s minimum wage ($277), respectively. Brazil is a vast and extremely unequal country, so if you look at regional figures, you see that poorer regions concentrate the worst indicators for education, access to water and sanitation, and access to day care, for example. 


Rodrigo Carvalho has been a Professor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for over twenty years. A native of Brazil, it was his devotion to the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle that inspired his journey to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to an international student base. Teaching from Ljubljana to Slovenia, to Austria, Croatia, and Italy, Rodrigo witnessed first hand the myriad of ways in which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu changed the lives of those who practiced. Eventually, Rodrigo was offered the opportunity to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the academy of former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten in California, where he currently teaches every day. Having experienced his own profound transformation through his practice, Rodrigo felt there was an opportunity to provide similar opportunities to the youth of his homeland.

The experience of seeing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu change the lives of these children as it had changed his own when he was a young man had a profound effect on Rodrigo and he now knew what needed to be done. Thus came the inspiration for Downtown BJJ – Fight for a kid social project, a non-profit organization dedicated to making this idea for change into something consistent, steady, and wonderful life changing for all involved. 


For a teacher of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is no greater feeling than having the opportunity to pursue a passion, and to teach it to others. In following this path, there are those of us who’ve been granted the knowledge of how great this gift is – to educate, to lead, to share the of the art with our community, and to pass it on. After all, in order to keep a gift, one must give it away.

Jiu Jitsu has opened so many doors, perhaps greatest of all has been that it has allowed for the creation of the Fight For A Kid project, a continuous source of joy for the soul to all who are involved. In life, there are those amongst us who have done well for themselves, achieved great things in their pursuits, and in their careers. More often than not, the ladder that they fought so hard to climb is then pulled up behind them, leaving those in less fortunate positions to find their own way, and without help. However, the more special of those people who’ve risen to great heights not only leave the ladder in place, but offer their hand, helping others to climb up behind them.

That is the solidarity that fuels Fight For A Kid. Your goal has always been to give these children and their families a practical means by which to change their condition for the better. As we help them fight for a better life, showing them that the ladder is there if they are willing to climb it, they will in turn do the same for others. Like ripples from a stone dropped into water, you made Fight For A Kid possible. As this initiative continues to impact the lives of these children, and as they will grow and continue to pass on what they have been given in return, we at Fight For A Kid will always know that it all began with your willingness to believe. Here’s to the future. May it be even better than what we could possibly imagine.