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CEO Ummul Choudhury on International Women’s Day

“Volunteering in a girl’s prison in Damascus in 2009 I, for the first time, met young women whose every history included sexual abuse, and/or rape. It was there, that I also saw how sport, music, play can touch a broken girl’s life, and let her see that her body is her own.

I realised then I couldn’t fix all I wanted to fix about the lives of these girls, but I could bring hope, new skills and an ability to have control over their own bodies.

It was in 2009 that I became a co-Founder of Capoeira4Refugees. Within our mandate, there has always been a passion for working with women. However hard that has many times proven to be.

On International Women’s Day, I’d like to emphasise the necessity of continuing to reach out to women and girls through sport. Through working with women in the context of the Middle East especially, we can affect real change in moving towards peace and furthering gender equality.”

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Capoeira Refugiado

Project

Capoeira Refugiado

Location

Islamabad, Pakistan

Target

Capoeira Refugiado was started by Mirwais Janbaz, an Afghan refugee who has been living in Pakistan for the last 20 years. As a refugee, it proved extremely difficult for him to get an education in Pakistan, but with much effort he was admitted to a school specifically for refugees. When he finished high school, he started teaching as a volunteer at different refugees school in Pakistan, and has been doing so for the last 8 years.

In 2012, he started playing Capoeira with a man called Amar Latif, who was teaching Capoeira at the Brazil Embassy in Islamabad. In 2015, Janbaz traveled to Brazil for 3 weeks of Capoeira training, and since then, he has been teaching Capoeira for refugees and locals in Pakistan.

Capoeira Refugiado targets local and refugee populations in Pakistan.

Impact

Capoeira Refugiado aims to build confidence in refugee youth, and send a message of peace and humanity. Capoeira Refugiado does not believe there are better forms of capoeira than others, but their goal is to help youth that have faced lots of difficulties throughout their lives.

Topics

Arts
Music
Children and youth development

Contact

Mirwais Janbaz: mirwaisjanbaz@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capoeira.for.refugees

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CapoeirArab

Project

Capoeirarab, Meet and Play

Location

Syria

Target

CapoeirArab is dedicated to capoeira as a means for the social development of youth. Through sport, recreation and play, children and adolescents learn to exercise judgement and think critically while finding solutions to problems. They promote the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, teaching teamwork, self-discipline, trust, respect for others, leadership and coping skills. Essential to ensuring that children develop into responsible and caring individuals, they help young people meet challenges they may face and enable them to assume leadership roles within their communities.

These skills are particularly critical in the Syrian context due to the lack of public spaces and athletic opportunities for youth. Many children lack the financial means or cultural exposure to various forms of physical activity and end up spending non-structured time on the streets. We introduce alternative ways of life that encourage Syrian youth – one of the largest populations under age 17 in the world – to enjoy and be challenged by this lively and spirited expression of movement. The lessons of capoeira extend beyond the training sessions to many areas of life in general. Students of capoeria will learn concentration skills and focus more in school whilst dealing with anger or frustration effectively, among other beneficial “spill-over effects”.

Our classes reach out to all youth regardless of financial means. Our policy is to make training possible for all those who are interested. Through the expertise of our Syrian and non-Syrian instructors, we are able to offer classes at all ages and levels.

Impact

Our programs encourage youth participation from all sectors of Syrian society, including Palestinian and Iraqi refugee children. Our regular training sessions attract a diverse constituency of short and long-term residents in Damascus who wish to benefit from regular fitness and cultivate a passion for the art.

Capoeira is not only a martial art form but also a way to develop a new approach to life. Capoeira provides a positive social environment where each child has the opportunity to perform with other members in the roda, helping them build confidence and express themselves. We teach the origins and philosophy of this Brazilian martial art, including homework in the Portuguese language, as well as training in songs and instruments. This engages the children in many different ways and is fun for all!

Our goal is to expose Syrian youth to a whole new world by teaching them the following:
– Accepting new cultures through cultural activities
– Learning a new language (Portuguese) and history through singing and rehearsing capoeira songs
– Learning to play musical instruments
– Gaining new physical and mental skills that increase their self-confidence
– Increased awareness of everyday problems through our own self-awareness mobilised through capoeira practice.
– Last but not least, it’s fun for all!

Topics

With the support of the Syrian Sport Federation, we have established capoeira programs especially designed for refugee children from Iraq and Palestine. To date we have trained children from Yarmouk, Sayyeda Zeynab and other areas of dense Iraqi population, as well as Syrian children from greater Damascus. In addition to these regular programs, we are helping to resocialise juveniles.

Our classes reach out to all youth regardless of financial means. Our policy is to make training possible for all those who are interested. Through the expertise of our Syrian instructors, we are able to offer classes at all ages and levels.

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ABADÁ CAPOEIRA STOCKHOLM

Project

ABADÁ Capoeira Capoeira for Refugees

Location

Stockholm, Sweden

Target

ABADÁ-Capoeira seeks to promote cultural and human values based on respect, socialization and freedom. It hopes to accomplish these goals by spreading the art of capoeira in and through universities, schools, clubs, associations and diverse communities. A special focus lies on refugees, with the social project Capoeira for Refugees.

Impact

By emphasizing the lessons inherent in its Brazilian cultural and historic roots, the project aims at promoting social integration between people of different backgrounds and classes, while keeping sight of its social goals. Furthermore, ABADÁ-Capoeira seeks to instill good character, dignity and strong personal values in its students, particularly in children, youth and refugees.

Topics

Arts
Education
Intercultural dialogue
Children and youth development

Contact

Website: www.abadacapoeirasthlm.com
E-mail: abadacapoeirastockholm@gmail.com