UNRWA and Bidna Capoeira to bring fun activities to more West Bank children

03 June 2011

3 June 2011
West Bank

Children doing capoiera at Fawwar schoolUNRWA today signed an agreement with the group Bidna Capoeira to provide more training in the Afro-Brazilian sport and art form to Palestinian children in two UNRWA schools.

The two organisations decided to extend their joint cooperation and expand the provision of capoeira after their first joint project reached nearly 500 students in UNRWA schools throughout the West Bank. The aim of the project is to use capoeira as a psychosocial tool to support children affected by armed conflict in the West Bank.

The new agreement will ensure training and psychosocial support to young Palestinians in two UNRWA schools in the Shu’fat and Jalazone refugee camps, in East Jerusalem and Ramallah. Bidna Capoeira will run training sessions for boys and girls alike throughout 2011 and 2012.

The training is expected to contribute towards improving students’ learning and behaviour in school classes. According to one counsellor working on the first phase of the project, over 70 per cent of students have shown noticeable improvements in learning and behaviour in school classes.

More than 75 children attended classes earlier in the year in Fawwar camp near Hebron. "Everyone holds hands, we are like brothers," said Bashar, a Bidna Capoeira student there. "I learnt strength from capoeira. I improved in my exams and I stay quiet in class." As well as the lessons, Bashar practises at home, sometimes on the roof of his house.

Signing today’s agreement, UNRWA’s director of West Bank operations Thomas White said that capoeira provides an important means of expression for refugee children, particularly those who face difficult social and economic conditions.

“Activities like capoeira enable children who’ve suffered hardship to lead something like a normal life,” he said.

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About Bidna Capoeira
Bidna Capoeira provides psychosocial relief to children in refugee camps and similarly challenging environments using sport, music and play. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian sport and art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. UNICEF recognises that sport and recreation for kids in general contribute to the millennium development goals. It is based on a philosophy of respect, with no winners and no losers. It requires nothing more than a friend and a few metres of flat space.

Bidna Capoeira website

For more information, please call:

Ilona Kassissieh
Public Information Officer
Orange: 054 216 8717
Office: 02 589 0408

Background Information

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

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