Capoeira reduces violence and aggression in children

capoeira in DRCYOUNG REPORTER – During the August 2016 school holidays, we took part in capoeira training sessions organised by UNICEF and its partners in various child care centres in the town of Goma, in Eastern DRC. The aim of these activities is to increase the number of people taking part in capoeira in the community surrounding the welfare facilities for vulnerable children. These children include children from armed forces and groups and children living with HIV.

Encouragement from parents

After more than a month of learning capoeira, we took part in the closing ceremony of the training at the Heal Africa Hospital; a few parents were there to support their children.

It started with an assembly and warm-up by the children, led by Alex and Ninja, two capoeira trainers who work at UNICEF. The children and teenagers then explained what they had gained from learning capoeira and how they now feel after such a long training session.

Charlotte, a child from the Heal Africa centre, explains: ‘’capoeira taught me to respect others, to live in a family, to bond with others. It changed me physically and mentally and de-stressed me completely’’.

Various parents who came to support their children say that they are also very happy because capoeira has brought about a major change in their children. Charlotte’s mother explains: ‘’We would like to thank Heal Africa and UNICEF for having thought of teaching capoeira to our children. My child was very shy before, she kept to herself and was very inactive; now, however, thanks to capoeira, my child is beginning to speak up, to be active and she wants to be part of a group of children; capoeira has really changed my child’’.

Capoeira enhances personal growth

Wow! According to Flavio, who is a Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF responsible for the Eastern Area and a capoeira master, capoeira now provides hope and the desire to live to children and learners. For him, before teaching others, he is firstly a learner himself: ‘’Capoeira has helped me a lot. Capoeira gave meaning to my life because I was introduced to this discipline from a young age and it taught me how to get rid of stress and to continue feeling useful and important; that is why I feel wonderful when I teach children’’.

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The Young Reporters acknowledge the importance and effectiveness of practising capoeira because very often, when we are among the most vulnerable children, (ex-soldiers, so-called street children, children with disabilities), we feel we are all united thanks to capoeira. There are no barriers or limits.

We would like to thank UNICEF for having thought of these capoeira activities at the Heal Africa Hospital and recommend that this type of activity be expanded so that more children can cultivate the values provided by capoeira.

Translated from Frenh by Elsabe Joubert 

Photo: UNICEF DRC 2014 Stefano Toscano

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Suzanne

Suzanne, 15ans, est Enfant reporter de Goma et membre du Parlement d'enfants. Suzanne se sent fière lorsqu'elle plaide pour les droits des enfants. D'ailleurs, plus tard, elle souhaite étudier les Relations Internationales pour de devenir ambassadrice afin de continuer sa lutte au-delà des frontières du pays.

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