Boxing for the Soul

Raiko Morales’ project is included in the projects that are now being funded by help alliance. The fire safety officer at Lufthansa Technik works at the Group’s occupational safety unit, and is firmly anchored in boxing outside his work. His project in Brazil focuses on the integrative power of (boxing) sport – and encourages children and young people to learn.

Germany is world champion! At least in autumn 2014, when Lufthansa employee Raiko Morales arrives at Recife in Sao Lourenço Da mata with his Brazilian fiancée Daiane and his six-month-old son Adriano in order to introduce the youngest family member to his relatives. It is also the first visit to Brazil for the father.

Morales is a boxer, was active himself in his youth, then switched to the coaching side early on and today is even active as a functionary in the national boxing federation. He is also the owner of the Bundesliga boxing team Hamburg Giants.

Project Lead

Raiko Morales, Lufthansa Technik



Morales has seen a lot, had to take a lot of punches, but the misery he encounters in his wife’s home village sends him right to the floor.

In the district of Sao Lourenço Da mata novo te uma there is no running water, the people live in corrugated iron huts, there is hardly any electricity. A favela for the visitor from Germany. The inhabitants forbid themselves this devaluation. The local school offers lessons – including English – but hardly any of the boys and girls Morales meets on a tour of the district with Daiane’s cousin Anderson Couthino go there. Their eyes reddened, their eyes clouded by alcohol and drugs, they prefer to kill time here on the street. The parents hardly care. “The prospects are very low,” says the cousin, who is also politically active in the community, “and they continue to dwindle if you don’t go to school.

Morales inquires about leisure activities for the children. Are there any clubs or sports facilities? Is there an alternative to alcohol and drugs? “As a young father, you are very sensitive to the suffering of other children and young people,” says the 35-year-old. Especially when you know that your own son grows up in a sheltered and caring environment. “It sounds trite, but I want to make a difference, give something back to society,” says Morales.

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An idea matures in his head. He knows the integrative power of sport from his own experience. He knows that boxing is particularly well suited to conveying values such as tolerance, respect and self-confidence, and he decides to do something about the lack of prospects for children. Boxing has nothing to do with anger and violence. “On the contrary, those who get into the ring like that have already lost,” says Morales. “You learn to control anger and violence. Because if you want to be successful, you need discipline. The boxing coach as a social worker. During his stay, he and his cousin founded the Instituto Juventude Criativa youth leisure centre, which offers boxing training as well as music and dance.

Morales personally travels to Recife, buys gloves and sandbags, hires a trainer and off he goes. Little by little, a real centre develops. Through personal financial commitment and a growing network of local supporters, the business can be kept running. Every child, every youth is welcome, but only if they attend school, because before the training starts, homework is done and English is learned. More than 30 children and young people pass by every day. A total of 170 girls and boys live in the district. “It quickly became clear that we also had to offer the kids something to eat. Many came to the centre with dry lips and an empty stomach. But that’s no way to learn – and certainly no way to train,” says the boxing coach.

Project Location

Sao Laurenco, Brazil


The first successes were achieved. The red in the eyes dwindles, more and more children come to the centre. They learn, train, dance and make music. Parents are also involved. The project is running. But the economic crisis in Brazil continues to worsen. The local school closes in 2017 because the state can no longer pay the teachers’ salaries. Local supporters of the project jump off because they themselves get into financial difficulties. At the beginning of 2018, the centre is on the verge of collapse.

Then Morales reads about the help alliance’s offer to let employees support social projects, submits his project application and receives the approval. “I am simply happy that we can continue with the support of the help alliance and even expand the offer,” says Morales. The funds will be used to renovate the centre, invest in its infrastructure and hire trainers and English teachers. “In addition, we want to create the structures so that the project can be self-sustaining by 2021 at the latest,” explains Morales. And until then, Germany will again be world Champion.


More about the help alliance project…