Capoeira Workshops in Zaatari Refugee Camp Jordan

“I can’t wait to introduce the children of Zaatari camp to capoeira and give them a place to play and express their frustrations in a safe and healthy way.” This is what Tarek Alsaleh, Founder of Capoeira4Refugees, said when he first came to teach capoeira workshops in Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan. After these first workshops in 2013, Capoeira4Refugees strengthened its presence in Jordan in close cooperation with partner organisations. 

“Having worked with the charity Bidna Capoeira (now Capoeira4Refugees) I know they have the professionalism, innovation and dynamism as an organisation to help in many of the world’s problem areas, said Dr. Roger Hearn, Regional Director Middle East and Eurasia for Save the Children International.

“In Capoeira I forget the fear and anxiety about the war. It’s as if there’s no war.’ These are the words of Mariam, an 8-year-old girl from Al Raqqa, Syria.

When the Syria crisis drove more and more refugees to neighboring Jordan, Tarek Alsaleh came to Zaatari Refugee Camp to give capoeira workshops to help desperately vulnerable refugee children trapped in a cycle of war and poverty. The sport, play and music of capoeira is incredibly effective in helping children develop the confidence, resilience, and mental strength they need to help them deal with the constant fear and instability of living as refugees. Capoeira4Refugees subsequently expanded its presence in Jordan with regular training sessions in Al Azraq Refugee Camp and community classes in Al Azraq town and Amman.

Capoeira4Refugees is an innovative UK charity that started in Syria 2007. It uses the Brazilian dance and martial art of capoeira to provide essential psychosocial support to young people who are the victims of war and conflict.
Capoeira has a great impact on entire communities. Everyone can join in regardless of gender/age or ability. This form of sport therapy breaks cycles of violence and creates confidence, self expression and friendship based on mutual respect. It is non competitive – there is no winner and there is no loser.
 The charity now has projects running across the Middle East in Palestine, Syria and Jordan, with partner organisations such as Save The Children, CARE, UNICEF and UNRWA.

“Agencies like UNHCR and Save the Children work so hard to help children suffering nightmarish conditions in the camps, often with no school and no safe spaces to play. Our projects complement this essential work by linking counselors and capoeira experts to give kids the chance to be children again,” says Tarek Alsaleh.

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