TNF: Tell us about the favela and the lifestyle the kids have there.
Felipe: It’s an extremely tough reality that we don’t want to imagine still exists in 2021. Until you go there, you don’t really understand how the families live, with so little of everything and such tough conditions. Some go to school not just to learn but because they don’t have enough to eat at home, so they must eat at school. They find joy in playing soccer in the streets, because all they need is a ball. It’s crazy to think that this reality sits right next to super rich neighborhoods in São Paulo.
TNF: With climbing now on “the world stage,” how has that impacted the kids in Brazil?
Felipe: It hasn’t impacted Brazil yet, but it has a huge possibility to do so. That’s why climbing walls and projects like this one are so important. With climbing getting more attention and global competitions, we just need to make it more accessible so it can reach—and impact—kids’ lives the way surfing, skateboarding, gymnastics and many other sports have.
TNF: How would you like to see Associação Felipe Camargo develop over the next few years?
Felipe: I would love to be able to build more climbing walls in other public schools. I’d also love to train some of the kids, give them gear so they can climbing properly, and maybe even make a team from the favelas. Then we can give them a salary or scholarships so they can help at home. Lastly, I’d love to take them climbing outside and to competitions.
TNF: What is the best way for someone to get involved in creating a similar project?
Felipe: There’s so much to do out there, we just need to step out of our comfort zone and take some steps, and I’m sure we will find ways to help.