This Social Program Is Using BJJ To Help Kids In One Of Sao Paulo’s Most Dangerous Areas

People of all backgrounds can benefit from BJJ, and many of us can relate to the phrase “Jiu-jitsu saved my life.” Now, a social project in Sao Paulo is trying to use jiu-jitsu to transform the lives of kids growing up in one of the city’s most unstable areas. Cracolandia (literally “Crackland”) is a particularly dangerous section of Sao Paolo, with addiction running rampant and drug dealers controlling the streets. And in the middle of it all are kids who are just trying to make it through each day alive.

Now, Lael and Joana Rodrigues are doing their part to help the kids in Cracolandia make a better future for themselves, and they’re doing it through the Novos Sohnos Social Project. The Project aims to give kids a safe space away from the chaos that surrounds them every day, providing them with multiple resources that give them positive role models and a calm, productive haven. And among the tools used is a jiu-jitsu program.

Ryan Ford, host of the Grappling Central Podcast, has now released a short film called “The Saint of Crackland – A Jiu-Jitsu Story” that highlights Novo Sonhos’ work and the importance of this kind of an organization in an area like Cracolandia. You can check out the film below, and if you’d like to donate to Novo Sonhos, you can do so through PayPal at


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