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A Chance to Climb Out of Brazil's Favelas

In 2003, climber Asa Firestone traveled to Rio de Janeiro to climb "Two Brothers," twin peaks surrounded by favelas—shanty towns harboring many of the city's poor. Many locals warned him against climbing in such a dangerous area. He went anyway, and decided to use climbing to help the area's children. In 2011, he teamed up with local climbing guide Andrew Lenz to begin the CEU Urban Climbing School in the Rocinha Favela. Now, they want to build a climbing wall in the government-run Rocinha sports complex. "Climbing can offer these youth a positive alternative to their daily struggles and the construction of a modern climbing wall will provide them with this opportunity," says Firestone on a new fundraising site. "Approximately 5,000 murders are reported per year in Rio de Janeiro's favelas. Climbing is not the end all solution but it can certainly help."

The pair has taken to to try and raise $50,000 to complete the wall. You can go to to donate, or check out BEYONDgear to learn more about Firestone and his projects. Firestone is selling gear on the website to help raise money for the climbing wall.

—Joe Spring

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