Brazil’s favelas are not the usual place you would expect to see young people playing tennis, but an up-and-coming charity in Rio de Janerio is breaking down barriers in unexpected ways. ACE, or Accelerating Community Empowerment, uses the structure and passion of tennis to create opportunity for children that lack the resources to succeed. With a combination of sport, education, art and therapy courses, their lives are led away from unsafe surroundings and into possibility.
Rocinha Favela is among the largest in Latin America, home to at least 250,000 residents but only two state schools. Each child is offered four hours of education per day, leaving long periods without supervision when negative activities can take place. To hit back against their dangerous environment, ACE views tennis as the perfect match for children to build character and confidence with their weekly tennis lessons.
Outside of the court, ACE’s community development center, named after activist Tio Lino, expands into creative expression. These programs encourage connecting with their culture through graffiti art and breakdancing. Photography is also a central part of ACE’s teachings, where students learn how to use a camera and edit photos. While the kids document and appreciate the beauty of their community, their work educates spectators worldwide at international photography exhibits in London and France.
In a city impaired with violence, poverty, and dwindling funds for education, ACE provides hope for a positive future. Since June of 2018, ACE has already raised over $35,700 and opened their development center. As they continue their mission to change lives, you can learn more and get involved by visiting www.acerio.org