C4R’s 5 Strengths
Capoeira4Refugee’s curriculum is based on the organization’s five values which contributes to the overall mental and psychosocial impact of displaced youth.
Capoeira positively helps vulnerable youth deal with war and the resultant psychosocial issues that are impacting their lives on a day-to-day basis by allowing children to channel anger and frustration in a safe and healthy way. Physical activity relieves stress, improves mood, and helps youth recover from trauma; it helps stabilise emotions and harmonise social relationships.. Furthermore, sports programs act as a platform to engage young people in a fun and age-appropriateway, and provide a sense of structure and normality through routinized, adult-supervised and community supported activities. This also gives opportunities to identify physical and psychosocial health issues facing young people and refer them through established referral pathways to relevant health services established referral pathways (e.g.: CP, SGBV, Education).
The artistic aspect of capoeira, combining live music, sport, play and storytelling is a powerful therapeutic tool. It breaks cycles of violence and creates friendships that strengthens communities. Everyone can participate regardless of gender, age, or ability. Parents can join in making live music whilst the children play in the capoeira circle (roda). Such activities cultivate friendships and create community networks. The shared “ritual identity” helps improve and strengthen relations between youth and their peers in host communities. Furthermore, by merging different communities together (e.g.: Refugee, Host, International Capoeira community), protective networks are strengthened and expanded.
Sports programs can be used to promote social inclusion and build peace. C4R’s programmes reach out to both girls (girls only classes) and boys (mixed classes). Shared experiences through sports redraws focus to similarities between groups rather than differences. For females, participation in sports encourages empowerment and social interaction, and can assist in breaking barriers to participation in public life.
Evidence supported Capoeira4Refugees’ theory of change, showing that through the five domains of change, Capoeira did promote psychosocial well-being in children and youth.
Related to this, Capoeira resulted in increased tolerance; although Capoeira led students to feel better able to physically defend themselves if necessary, it resulted in a decrease in aggression and increased respect towards and acceptance of others. Finally, Capoeira developed inner strength and confidence, particularly in oft-disempowered groups like girls.
The Middle East region is experiencing an unprecedented ‘youth bulge’, with the highest proportion of youth to adults in the region’s history. While this ‘youth bulge’ presents great opportunities for development, youth today face the interlinked challenges of conflict, poverty, and the growing threat of violent extremism. C4R aims to engage these youth in age appropriate activities that foster dialogue and expose them to alternative pathways Social capoeira provides a space for youth to create a healthy and positive group identity.
C4R works in conflict zones with limited or no access to quality formal
education. Within designated ‘safe spaces,’ students learn new skills that can enable them to take on positions of leadership within their own communities, or access other opportunities through the skills that they have gained. Training includes: time management, lesson-planning, event and class coordination, community organising, monitoring and evaluation data collection, child protection, teamwork. The acquisition of these skills in an informal education context provides alternatives where formal education is inaccessible, and literature suggests may also provide alternative options to negative behaviour choices.
How do we measure impact?
Put another way, MSC is about measuring change through story telling
Read some inspiring stories from our students and trainers . . .
Story from Aya, (Names changed)
This story is about Leila, a girl who participates in the Azraq camp class. She has a younger brother who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and she is his main caretaker. This means that he is always with her, often holding onto her arm or hovering very close to her. For the first girls’ class she and her brother did not come, but the second class she arrived early, and introduced herself, requesting to be apart of the class and asking if her brother could stay too, because she could not leave his side. The trainers agreed, making an exception for her situation. Since then she and her brother have participated each week with enthusiasm and they have integrated well into the group. She loves the music and singing and participates in the movements, with her brother always close to her side. They arrive to class early each time, excited to be there. During the class she is getting more freedom to be involved in the games, and her brother is giving her some space; he is clearly becoming more comfortable being farther away from her. Leila has expressed that this time in the class is her only time to be free. Free of the duties she has in her home, free from always needing to pay attention to her six other siblings and free from constantly watching her brother. This is her time to just play and do what she wants.
Story from Jahman (Names Changed), trainer (2016)
Bassam is a 7-year-old autistic boy who attends capoeira classes in one of the community centers in Damascus. When Bassam first came to class, the center’s staff had asked Ahmad to take special care of him. Bassam was difficult to work with, he would not listen or react to instructions. Over time, Jahman noticed that Bassam responded well to training in small groups. He would participate more proactively during group exercises because he felt he was part of the group. Jahman avoided asking Bassam to answer questions or demonstrate movements in front of the group until he asked all the other children in the group to do so. Slowly, Bassam begin to smile during training, and became increasingly active and playful around his peers. The changes in Bassam’s behaviour pleasantly surprised the center’s staff, especially the manager. She told Samir that Bassam would never have blossomed without the opportunity to participate in an activity like capoeira.
(All names changed)
Jinga is a 17 years old boy from Bethany Camp, Palestine he is a very small boy. If you see him you would think that he is 12 years old not 17. But Mhran is a very strong boy and he have a leader personality but unfortunately he uses his power in a wrong way, he is bullying other kids and he is a trouble maker.
I had to dismiss him from the class more than one time, because he loves capoeira so much it was hard on him not to play. We had a chance to talk and I figured that he is bullying others as a defence mechanism because his body is very small. But he don’t like it because the other guys avoid him and he have no friends. I told him that if he will do good in capoeira the other kids will respect him more and that he will start to make new friends. Today he is the most popular student in the class and his capoeira is great and I will move him to the advance class soon.
(All names changed)
This is a story about two teenage girls in the Azraq refugee camp. One is named Mayis and the other is Umnieh, both are about 14 years old. Mayis is outgoing, she is always very excited and enthusiastic when she comes to class. Umnieh is the most curious, she always asked questions. In just a few classes, the trainers recognized that these girls have natural leadership skills and started asking them to demonstrate movements and keep younger girls in line. Even though Umnieh struggles with the movements and physical coordination, she was always models a positive, willing-to-try attitude. Since being asked to assist in class, the girls started walking a bit taller and straighter. These girls show that given the right space and opportunities to lead, they shine.