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Garrido's Boxing Gym

Almost three thousand overpasses and viaducts mark the landscape of the twenty-million city of Sao Paulo. One of them, located in a municipal district in the eastern section, Zona Leste, became the site of the Garrido Boxing Academy, founded by a former professional boxer Nelson Garrido with a mission to get young people off drugs and crime through sport and education (a library stocked with books donated from everywhere is a part of each gym). The charismatic "O Louco dos Viadutos", the crazyman of viaducts, gained sympathy and respect from the locals, as well as from the municipal authorities, who support him in his idea of taking sport to the poor and marginalized population by establishing public gyms.
People who frequent the Academy are of very different kind. There are regular workers and jobless guys, schoolboys (and schoolgirls) as well as homeless youngsters for whom this is the only place when they are safe from dangers of street life and can even get the only hot meal during the day, prepared by Mrs. Garrido. At the entrance, there is a kind of triumphal arc (a gift from a group of young designers from Holland who visited the place a few years ago) with a motto which can be translated roughly: "Come as a chap, leave as a proid person".

 

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By  VNW