“I improved in my exams and I stay quiet in class,” explains Bashar, an UNRWA student in Fawwar camp in the southern West Bank. Bashar is one of nearly 500 UNRWA students taking part in a groundbreaking new project which uses the sport and art form of capoeira to help them deal with the pressures of living under occupation.
“Everyone holds hands, we are like brothers,” says Bashar. “I learnt strength from capoeira.”
The project, which has been carried out in partnership with British NGO Bidna Capoeira, helps children from UNRWA schools affected by the ongoing conflict in the West Bank.
The project has already had a real impact, according to Na’ama Shadi, an UNRWA teacher at Arroub camp. “They [participating students] spend all day running after me to ask if there is capoeira today,” Na’ama explains. “The project is targeted at students suffering from particular psychosocial problems. Capoeira helps the kids let off steam in a positive and fun way.”
You can see the fun for yourself in this photo gallery.