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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BRAUSA Health and Fitness for the Sighted, Blind and Visually Impaired

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts Schools

Mission: BRAUSA is dedicated to promoting health and fitness, providing cultural education, and building community through the preservation and sharing of Braziian arts, culture and sport. Our goal is to make Kapoeira accessible to all, including the blind and visually impaired.

Target demographics: The blind and visually impaired community.

Geographic areas served: Greater Los Angeles, CA (though we hope to expand!)

Programs: We provide free Kapoeira classes for the blind and visually impaired. Due to its multi-faceted nature, Kapoeira provides many benefits to this community. Master Raiul created a curriculum specifically designed to cater to the challenges they face every day. Some benefits include: • Improved balance and increased strength. • Access to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, which increases power and muscle mass and improves cardiovascular and respiratory systems. • Development of gross motor skills (large body movements such as punches, kicks, acrobatics, and grappling) and fine motor skills (more detail-oriented movement such as playing various Kapoeira instruments – berimbau, tambourine, drums). • Improved self-defense skills • Increased socialization • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence • Having FUN!

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This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Paul G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA - a team of compassionate individuals bringing martial arts and Brazilian culture to those of fortunate enough to cross paths with them. I have trained with them on and off for several years and they have enriched my life in a great way. There's something about bouncing around on the mat with with music and likeminded people that fills me with great joy. Mestre Raiul and Co are compassionate about what they do and selfless in their care for all us who have the privilege to be a part of their group.


Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA brought free weekly Kapoeira classes to visually impaired and blind teens at Braille Institute in Los Angeles during Winter/Spring 2011. This integrative sports program was highly effective as it integrated a multisensory approach to teaching teens physical exercise by means of coupling instrumental music playing with the practice of martial arts to challenge our students physically, mentally and uplifting them emotionally. BRAUSA is a worthwhile organization to support because they bring a successful rehabilitative exercise to the blind and visually impaired population.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I never knew Kapoeira. The first time I heard about it was at the Braille Institute, when Master Raiul brought the BRAUSA Kapoeira classes there. I am so glad Kapoeira found me. I was so surprised how vigorous the exercise is. Physically I got stronger. And it’s very good for self-defense, especially for visually impaired people. The music makes me feel like I have no limits, that I can go beyond them. I never played musical instruments before, and the pandeiro, berimbau and atabaque are so interesting and fun to play!

All my life I never exercised, until I lost my eyesight. It was a new beginning for me. I’ve never been this healthy before. I don’t feel 66 years old. You forget your age.

Client Served

Rating: 5

BRAUSA's Kapoeira classes are fantastic! Master Raiul has amazing patience to teach the visually impaired. I myself am visually impaired, and I know it is not easy to teach something like Kapoeira to those with disabilities. I love Kapoeira because it is a big challenge, and it is stimulating. I was discouraged from doing exercises or sports because of my disability. My doctor recommended that I only walk for exercise, but I am too young to only walk, and it's too boring for me! I wanted something else to do that was more challenging and more interesting. So I was excited when I heard about Kapoeira classes specifically for the visually impaired. For us, we don't have many exercises available to us, nor do we have knowledgeable teachers educating us about health and nutrition. I think BRAUSA is special because they also encourage youth to exercise and learn about fitness, which is especially critical for sedentary-prone blind or visually impaired kids.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so grateful to know Master Raiul at BRAUSA and learn Kapoeira from him! He is so passionate about helping the visually impaired and he is providing a wonderful service! I have never met anyone who has really wanted to improve fitness in the blind and visually impaired community! I had an accident at work in 2004 that left me totally blind. I became depressed and I gained a lot of weight. Before the accident I was very active - I played soccer three times a week! And after the accident I tried to find some kind of exercise that I could do without sight to make me feel better. But there was no information about what I could do, and walking and doing push ups were not enough. After six surgeries in each eye some of my sight was restored, but I was still searching for a way to feel better and escape depression. Luckily, Master Raiul was providing free Kapoeira classes at the Braille Institute. I didn't know what Kapoeira was or if I was able to do martial arts, but I decided to check out his class. Kapoeira was an exciting new sport for me, and I felt safe learning from Master Raiul. Now, after doing Kapoeira for 7 months, I feel a lot better. I am stronger and more confident. I invited my family and friends to class, and now my son takes classes with me every week. We love Kapoeira!