It brought tragedy and hardship to this wonderful country and it’s people. We were forced to leave Syria.. but some continued…
In spite of the recent unrest in Syria, many of our classes continue, staffed entirely by our local trainers. This model for Capoeira Social Enterprise continues to offer free social programmes and broadens skills of local youth, providing them with paid employment. All profits have been reinvested in developing trainers and offering more classes, helping to improve the physical and psychosocial well-being of thousands of children.
Bidna Capoeira (now Capoeira4Refugees) has been teaching capoeira in Syria since 2007. To date our sustainable social enterprise with local trainers has taught over 6,000 kids. The programme started by building interest in capoeira by playing and offering free one-off training in public spaces. A regular group was soon established with locals and international students. People who couldn’t afford the classes contributed their time, helping to build and promote the group. The classes covered the costs for two part-time trainers, allowing them to offer an ongoing ‘Free 4 Kids’ programme to underprivileged children. Our ‘batizado’ festival was an annual highlight, drawing visitors and volunteers from 25 countries growing awareness and demand for paid performances.
Over the first two years our group and ‘Free 4 Kids’ classes expanded, building local recognition of capoeira as an effective means for improving psychosocial wellbeing. We were approached by international organisations such as UNICEF, UNWRA, Terre des Hommes, and Cartias. They funded classes at juvenile institutes for girls and boys, at a children’s hospital, UNWRA schools, and an eight month programme at Al-Tanf Refugee Camp. “The equality, respect and unified spirit of capoeira gave the children joy and renewed confidence, building their resilience to face the challenging circumstances.” Patrizia Giffoni, Child psychologist, Al-Tanf Refugee Camp By developing a Training of Trainers programme we were able to build our capacity to offer more social programmes. Our programme included classes in first aid, programme planning, teaching skills, child psychology, social media, and languages.
Social media proved a breakthrough, with our local trainers producing their own videos which we now use to help market to potential programme sponsors.