About 3 and a half years ago we’ve completed the Muay Thai project in Iquitos. All equipment were transferred to Michel who would continue the project from his backyard. For a few weeks the boys and girls worked hard to make the backyard suitable as a muay thai school. Now we were able to see what a great success this has become.
We can proudly say that Michel now has a large group of students. There are still students from the project in 2015-2016 who have continued to train. The two that excel are Daniel and Edgard who have never deviated from Michel.
Daniel is now 14 years old and has a tough life. He lives alone with his grandmother while his mother lives with his brother and sister somewhere else. He has to take care of his income himself and does not get any support from his parents, who already have a hard time getting food on the table every day. Daniel's big dream is to become a professional Muay Thai fighter and does everything in his power to achieve this. In addition to participating in MMA competitions held in the city of Iquitos, he trains 3-4 hours a day, works from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. and attends high school. As a job he brings bread from the bakery to the local shops, who sell the bread. He gets paid around €5 for this, which is his whole income.
Edgard is now 17 years old and lives with his mother and grandmother. He has a sister that he has to watch out for regularly and his dream is to become a professional Muay Thai fighter. Just like Daniel, he participates in mma competitions in the city. They both do mma because there are no muay thai competitions yet. This way they still do something that contains muay thai and it helps them to get food on the table. These guys are very talented and show that during their competitions. Thanks to their discipline, perseverance and talent, they are doing very well during the competitions and have been able to get sponsors. These sponsors ensure that they, at least, have a good meal a day.
In addition to Michel, Manuel and Genister have also started a muay thai school to continue with the sport and to learn standards and values. Standards and values such as being respectful, humble, helpful and disciplined. Manuel has opened his school on the ground floor in his own house. His house is in the poorest neighborhood of Iquitos where there is a lot of abuse, theft and drug/alcohol consumption. He tries to keep the children and youngsters on the right path by teaching them that there is more to life than what they see around them every day. Manuel himself has motivated another adult student to also start a school in another neighborhood. In this way the sport continues to grow and they keep on spreading the right standards and values to youngsters and children.
Genister has been active as a teenager in our muay thai project and is now working full time. He missed muay thai so much and wanted to continue with this so he decided with a friend to start his own muay thai school. His friend provides the room for training. During daytime it’s a computer room but in the evening they turn it into a muay thai school. Genister teaches a large group of around 20 youngsters every day after work.
We are very proud of this fantastic progress. This is more than what we had hoped for. The sport continues to grow and the transfer of standards and values also grows. The project started with the aim of making children / youngsters / women resilient and to increase their self-confidence. We wanted to give them a place where they could work out and feel at home and be themselves. We wanted to teach them that they could design their own future. That message has arrived at many and they are now trying to teach others the same message without asking for anything in return. As the students tell us every time:
"We planted the seeds with our project, now, the plant is growing."