A short documentary depicting a transformational experience of a group of young Brazilian jiujitsu athletes and their coaches has shed light on Mubadala’s commitment to driving positive change in communities where it invests.
Produced by Electric Films, a leading Dubai-based production company, the film recently won a prestigious Gold Dolphin at the Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards.
‘A Fighting Chance: A Tale of Perseverance’, chronicles a life-changing journey of 30 young athletes and four of their volunteer coaches from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the spotlights of the prestigious Abu Dhabi World Pro Jujitsu Championship.
Their participation was only made possible through the collaboration of many Mubadala organizations. In the true spirit of partnership and inspiration, which are two of our highly cherished corporate values, we brought together different parts of our business and external parties to support the team as they demonstrated their determination and resilience in overcoming adversity and the stigma associated with the environment where they live.
Mubadala Foundation, our philanthropic and CSR arm, supported the athletes to travel to Abu Dhabi and compete at the Championship. On its part, our wholly owned asset management subsidiary Mubadala Capital, stepped in to provide a long-term social project sponsorship, which is ongoing working with the Brazil Foundation, to lay the groundwork for the Maré Top Team including getting them officially registered, planning for their growth, and outlining a business strategy for long-term sustainability.
Nothing can describe the true impact of the experience more powerfully than the team members themselves. With eyes full of tears but glittering with determination, they spoke of how Mubadala’s support has opened new windows for them.
Theodora Rangel the youngest girl in the film, summed it beautifully in one word that epitomized the spirit prevalent among the team. When asked who Theodora is, she instantly said: “A champion!”
Mare Top Team experienced a series of transformative developments that significantly impacted the community, following their successful journey to compete in Abu Dhabi:
Increased Visibility: The team gained recognition and respect within the sports world through visits from renowned athletes, further enhancing their reputation and inspiring aspiring athletes within their community.
Exponential Growth: Their achievements led to a threefold increase in the number of participating kids. In response, they expanded their reach by establishing seven additional locations in different, often challenging, favelas across Rio, totalling ten centres in some of the city's most vulnerable areas
A number of the kids from Mare Top Team achieved remarkable successes. These are a few things that impacted their lives, that are a direct result of Mubadala’s sponsorship:
Multiple State Victories: They competed and triumphed in numerous states across Brazil, earning an impressive collection of medals and recognition for their Jiu-Jitsu prowess.
Scholarship Opportunities: Several kids secured scholarships, opening doors for higher education and promising futures.
English Course Sponsorships: They were sponsored for English language courses, equipping them with a valuable skill for global communication.
Physiotherapy Support: Sponsorships for physiotherapy ensured their physical well-being, enhancing their athletic performance.
Gym Sponsorships: They received sponsorships for gym memberships, furthering their training and fitness levels.
Media Recognition: They were featured in newspapers, television interviews, and invited to share their journey on podcasts and motivational speaking events in Brazil, raising awareness and inspiring others to a life beyond anything that they could have previously imagined.
Government Recognition: The Rio Government honoured them with medals for realizing their dreams and representing their city on a global stage.
Supportive Local Businesses: The local business further supported the kids by donating snacks, kimonos, and fostering community growth in an environment where people have very little.
Cultural Enrichment: Invitations to cultural events in Rio, including cinema outings, circus performances, and visits to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, enriched their lives beyond sports. Until we filmed the documentary, many of the kids had never been to Christ the Redeemer statue although they see it in the distance overlooking Rio every day.
Sporting Renown: Their successes earned them significant visibility within the sport, affectionately known as "The UAE Kids" or "The Sheikh’s Team."
The impact of the Team rippled out into their community in profoundly positive ways. Their remarkable journey served as a source of inspiration and hope, igniting a sense of possibility among the youth and residents of the country.
The success of these young athletes acted as a powerful catalyst and motivator for other kids growing up in similar challenging circumstances where crime, drugs, violence and even death are an everyday occurrence. They became local heroes, demonstrating that dreams could be achieved through hard work, determination, and resilience.
The community witnessed tangible benefits as well. Their involvement in supporting local businesses strengthened the local economy, creating a positive economic impact within the favelas. Furthermore, the cultural events they attended together promoted community bonding and a shared sense of joy and pride that their youth can be the generation that makes a tangible change with our help.
Meeting new cultures and experiencing the world beyond their neighborhoods broadened the children’s horizons, showing them possibilities beyond their current circumstances. Additionally, they became cultural ambassadors, promoting understanding and breaking stereotypes in their communities.
These accomplishments not only transformed their lives but also inspired a ripple effect of empowerment and support within their communities. Overall, this sponsorship from Mubadala empowered these kids to dream big, creating positive ripples in their lives and surroundings.
Click here to watch their inspiring tale.
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