AJTKD at UN event to discuss sport and education for employment

Promoting decent work and full employment is crucial for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and addressing inequalities. To this end, the Jadir Taekwondo Association (AJTKD) recently held an event focused on the challenges that Brazil faces with education and underemployment, and AJTKD’s approach for overcoming them.

The event “Tackling inequality through education: the link between poor access to education and underemployment in Brazil” was held as part of the United Nation’s 61st Session of the Commission for Social Development. Opened by Grandmaster Jadir Figueira, president of AJTKD, the event addressed issues related to the connection between education and employment, the role of sports in that connection, as well as the quality of life of young people from underprivileged areas in Brazil.

Education of the youngest generations is the basis for creating future professionals since well-educated children and young people will have better employment opportunities. 

“We believe in the power of sports to transform lives” stated Danilo Malafaia, administrative director at AJTKD. This premise has guided the association’s work for more than two decades now. Not only does the association teach discipline through taekwondo, its students learn about a wide variety of topics such as using virtual reality to learn about nature protection and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Paulo Rocha, a professor at Rio de Janeiro University and AJTKD vice president, highlighted that good-quality, accessible basic education is fundamental for breaking down barriers and reducing social inequality. 

Public schools in Brazil face many challenges, such as low quality of teaching and infrastructure. Access to higher education is also a critical issue and requires a great deal of effort on the part of the government and educational institutions.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, around 2 million children and young people aged 11 to 19 were out of school in Brazil. Lack of education has several consequences, such as inequality, informal employment, increased gang activities, trafficking and violence. 

The practice of sports contributes to the promotion of education and improves academic performance, develops social and emotional skills, creates professional connections and encourages entrepreneurship.

In the words of Robyn Heitzman, an AJTKD volunteer researcher and former postgraduate student of Latin American Studies at the University of Oxford: “Education is a key aspect of sports and, with its work, AJTKD has been inspiring other organizations. It educates about local practices by increasing visibility and sharing evidence.”