BOXING IS LOVE Liberia – The Start of a Global Movement
The fundamental mission of Boxing Is Love, a BOXRAW foundation, is to use the sport of boxing as a mechanism to overcome pervasive social epidemics that plague communities throughout the third world. It is our belief that Boxing can serve to potentiate positive change and help break a deeply rooted cycle of dependency embedded in the youth. After diligent research, the location for the start of this journey was quite clear. Boxing Is Love has partnered with Save More Kids, a US-based Non-Profit Organization, to facilitate the launch of a sustainable boxing program throughout Liberia, West Africa. The objective is, but not limited to, stimulate a new boxing culture, create a strong community presence, and build multiple Boxing Clubs throughout the nation. The maiden voyage of Boxing Is Love - Liberia took place in June 2018, reaching roughly 1500 children and young adults in less than two weeks. The partnership between the two organizations is firmly rooted on the notion of providing long-term resources to the Liberian youth and mutually agrees that a consistent presence is paramount to creating a lasting impact. As you read on, we believe that you will agree - both the children and the country deserve it.
Liberia is a nation full of immeasurable beauty, from the land to the people. Unfortunately, the global perception of the country has been dictated by war, death, destruction and disease. Just 15 years removed from two brutal civil wars spanning two decades, the fighting left close to a million dead and displaced 750k as refugees. The war spanned from 1989 to 2003, and has been historically credited for the first documented use of child soldiers, with an estimated 50% of the infantry said to be part the “Boy Soldier Unit” created by the leader of the rebel forces. However, despite a history-political malfeasance, the 2018 election of President George Weah has instilled a unified sense of hope. So, how can Boxing help Liberia?
As a result of the carnage, an overwhelming 70% of the country’s population is under the age of 25 years old (estimated 3.2m people with an average age of 18.7 yrs old). Boxing Is Love believes that the sport can provide the structure and discipline that often lacks without proper influence. The advantage, however, is the inherent sense of resilience and perseverance that already exists within the people. The country has been united by the virtues of posterity, and we believe that with appropriate encouragement, boxing can systematically change the trajectory of an entire generation.
The initial trip to Liberia deployed a team of 10 professional and amateur trainers, coordinated by Save More Kids. Its purpose was to introduce the sport of boxing, at the community level, to villages all over the country. Despite there being 12 active Professional Boxers, born in Liberia, with a collective 160 wins combined, the boxing culture remains dormant. “Pop-up” exhibitions, designed to generate interest, took place in six densely populated areas surrounding the capital city of Monrovia. A more structured training regimen was implemented at Christ Children’s Home in Gbarnga, Liberia, which included their 44 residents, and open to the children within the surrounding village. The response was nothing short of remarkable with hundreds of children participating at each location, and further validated the mission of Boxing Is Love – Boxing can potentiate positive change.
As a way to maintain momentum, Boxing Is Love plans to erect its first boxing gym in Gbarnga, Liberia by the end of 2018. The foundation also plans to launch The Boxing Is Love Movement, which will comprise of up to four volunteer trips open to motivated individuals that share the same passion for the sport of boxing. In the stories to follow, Boxing is Love will share the events that took place during our initial trip and introduce key individuals whose stories embody the purpose of our mission. Further, Boxing Is Love intends to create a vast/active global network of passionate individuals to come together and help spread awareness of our cause and the impact Boxing can have on similar communities around the world.
On behalf of Boxing Is Love, and BOXRAW, we encourage everyone to continue following this blog and help us change the world – country-by-country, glove-by-glove.
Director, Boxing Is Love
July 12, 2018