Ummul Choudhury

Capoeira for Refugees

Ummul Choudhury

Capoeira for Refugees’ vision is to use capoeira as a psychosocial tool to help support children in refugee camps and vulnerable communities.

Our objectives are to provide relief, to support development through strengthening resilience and most importantly to bring joy into the harshest of environments. We use sport, music and play, through the non-competitive art form of Capoeira. Originally brought to Brazil by slaves from Africa, its precedents of creativity in creating social cohesion and resilience in the face of oppression remain relevant to the communities we are working with today. We also use life skills classes, counselling sessions, art and theatre as part of our psychosocial programme of activities.


We are implementing programmes in Palestine working with vulnerable children, youth and communities throughout the West Bank. The charity itself was inspired by the social impact of grassroots capoeira programmes in Syria. We work with communities vulnerable to incursions by soldiers, gender based violence, non-functional sewage and sanitation services, poverty, imprisonment and violence of many of the youth and men by the occupying forces.

Capoeira for Refugees was previoulsy known as Bidna Capoeira

The work Bidna Capoeira have done for UNRWA has proven particularly successful in breaking down gender barriers and supporting particularly vulnerable children. And most important, they have helped bring a sense of fun and excitement into various refugee camps - this has not only benefited the children but the community at large.
Roger Hearn, Director of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency)

At the personal level, founding charity and turning myself into a social entrepreneur has been challenging. I have funded myself for over two years, I have worked without a break (there are no such things as weekends!). I have also faced the bureaucratic nature of the NGO world, the harsh realities and instability of working in a conflict zone (body checks are especially stressful), I was forced to leave Syria as the Arab Spring spread. I have had to learn the new languages of psychosocial/NGO speak as well as learning to be a leader, a manager and most harshly, a bookkeeper!"

Ummul Choudhury | Capoeira for Refugees

Capoeira for Refugees | @C4Refugees

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