Healing and advancing to the rhythm of capoeira

Capoeira is a powerful instrument facilitating the care and the rehabilitation of vulnerable children in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

UNICEF DRC
Un grand groupe d'enfants qui pratiquent la capoeira
UNICEF DRC Wenga
22 June 2022

Countless children continue to suffer from the ongoing conflict and attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They are recruited into armed groups. They are killed, maimed, or victims of sexual violence. They are forced to flee. In several centers across the province of North-Kivu, UNICEF is helping to rebuild this broken youth.

Deux enfants qui pratiquent la capoeira au milieu d'une foule de jeunes
UNICEF DRC Wenga

In a center in Goma, children from armed groups mingle with other children affected by violence, in a joyful hubbub. Dressed in white, they train together in capoeira and renew ties damaged by violence. This Brazilian martial art allows children to express their anger and frustration during non-violent fights.

Un enfant assis par terre lors d'un entrainement de capoeira
UNICEF DRC Wenga

Baraka, 16, recently regained his life as a child after 6 months in an armed group. The return to civilian life was very difficult for this young boy. “I preferred to remain alone in my corner, but I am surprised that, today, I am happy to be with others”, explains Baraka who has been practicing assiduously capoeira for three months.

Une adolescente qui pratique la capoeira
UNICEF DRC Wenga

Capoeira is not just about physical training - learning it requires significant mental focus and is based on the values of peace, equality, and respect. “I was very proud and feisty”, explains Charline, who was on the streets of Goma a few weeks ago. “I learned the senses of listening, tolerance, and love”, said Charline.

Un garçon qui pratique la capoeira
UNICEF DRC Wenga

“This is a healthy activity that is very useful in our everyday life”, says Gloire after the training at the center. After losing his father, the 11-year-old boy wanted to drop out of school and lost interest in everything. “I was pensive and stressed, but today I am happy and ambitious”, explains Gloire who has found a smile.

Deux jeunes qui pratiquent la capoeira au milieu d'une foule
UNICEF DRC Wenga

Since the beginning of the year, more than 110 children have participated in the capoeira sessions and 10 social workers have been trained to supervise them. Capoeira is a liberation tool and helps children affected by violence to reconnect to a social life. This practice is added to other educational, recreational, and psychosocial activities offered to children to ensure their emotional, cognitive, moral, intellectual, and social development.