Asociação Civil Capoeira Cidadã was founded in 2005 by a group of capoeiristas and community members who recognized the potential of capoeira as a social inclusion tool. The organization hosts various programs at their headquarters, the Capoeira Cidadã Cultural Center, including handicrafts and instrument-building, educational support and tutoring, crafting classes and computing, in addition to regular capoeira classes. The center also is home to the “Biblioteca Mestre Peixinho,” or “Mestre Peixinho Library,” where students have access to over 1400 books.
Each program at Capoeira Cidadã Cultural Center has carefully articulated objectives and purpose. For example, handicrafts and instrument-building give students an opportunity for future income-generation while they learn to make caxixis, berimbaus and atabaques. Students are also able to develop leadership skills through “Monitoring,” or teaching other students these techniques. Students also receive capoeira-themed, educational support, as they are able to study the Portuguese language to interpret capoeira songs and texts, and practice mathematics through calculations of rope measurements and quantities of instruments.
“I started on the project at age 10, today I am 19, almost half of my life was participating in the project. I am very grateful for everything the project has given me to this day, as moments of happiness, learning and a lot of training to be a good citizen. The project is a way to take the children off the streets and show a little more about a part of Brazilian culture that is little publicized in our own country. I believe we can help these children to have a better future and make them real citizens.
When I got to the project it was very hyperactive, I was fighting a lot with my brother and at school; But the project showed me that not everything is resolved with a fight, but with dialogue. I learned a lot about hierarchy, respect for others and, above all, humility. He has added a lot in my life and I am always learning. I thank my teacher and all the others who have always helped me in this institution,” says Estagiario Galo.