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About Us

Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health.
— Bessel, A. van der Kolk

Capoeira al-Shababi works with children and youth in Jordan providing psychosocial support and life-skills to vulnerable communities.

We believe that one of the biggest challenges that vulnerable youth face is the psychological impact of experiencing war, conflict, social and/or economic marginalisation. A healthy childhood environment that provides space for learning, self-discovery and the development of life skills are the most effective and essential conditions for a successful future. That is why Capoeira al-Shababi focuses on the following:

Safe connections and peer support to restore support networks and foster companionship.

Play, expression and creativity - the backbone of healthy child development - through physical exercise and music.

Movement activities that serve as a therapy for healing from trauma and other psychological difficulties.

Safe spaces that encourage trust, dialogue, and social bonds among peers and with role models.

 
 
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Our Story

Capoeira al-Shababi is a youth initiative founded by three capoeira players in Jordan wanting to bring hope, happiness and community support to youth most in need. With up to 10 years of experience practicing Capoeira and years of working voluntarily to bring the joy of Capoeira to distressed communities, the Capoeira al-Shababi founders decided to dedicate their lives to establishing an organisation that can bring sustainable support to youth in the region.

We believe that Capoeira is resilience, training the capacity to keep moving, training and learning. Capoeira is family, bringing different people together to share the art. Capoeira is freedom, to be whomever you wish to be and to accept others as they are. Capoeira is hope, giving you the space to build your dreams for the future.

Healing ... depends on experiential knowledge: You can be fully in charge of your life only if you can acknowledge the reality of your body, in all its visceral dimensions.
— van der Kolk

What is capoeira?

Capoeira was born at the beginning of the 16th century when the slave trade brought Africans across the transatlantic ocean to Brazil. It began in Brazil by African slaves who developed the art of capoeira, incorporating much of their homeland culture into its conventions. This dance-fight combines martial arts movements, body dialogue, music and cultural and ethical conventions. Capoeira is now played across the world in almost every country, and has a strong tendency to unite people across borders. Capoeira is a holistic, social sport that teaches communication, respect and perseverance. Played in a circle or ‘roda’, with live instruments and singing in Portuguese, it is playful and theatrical. Two players enter the circle and dance, play, and enjoy their game. It trains mind and body in synchrony. Training in this method provides an endless learning experience in creativity, mindfulness, inner strength and self confidence.

 

Meet the Team

 
 
 
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Lauren Hales

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Lauren has spent a number of years studying and working in the Middle East, a passion born from her BA in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies. After travelling to the West Bank to study Arabic, she soon discovered the local capoeira community and volunteered to assist classes in Palestinian refugee camps. After her MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford, she decided to return to the Middle East and dedicate her time to social capoeira projects in Jordan. Lauren is passionate about child development, trauma and the healing techniques of movement and music.

 
 

Hussein Zaben

Co-Founder

Hussein Zaben is one of the first Jordanian capoeira players, and has been playing capoeira for 9 years. He has also been working in psychosocial support activities for vulnerable youth for around 3 years. Hussein is passionate about helping local youth and providing positive support and fun activities. He wishes to expand capoeira and its endless benefits to more and more vulnerable people in the region.

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Ramzy Natsheh

Capoeira Trainer

Ramzy Natsheh began capoeira in Jerusalem when he was 15 years old. This activity was a life changer, and has prompted him to develop himself and provide the same support to others in the region. Ramzy has worked as a psychosocial support facilitator for 5 years and is passionate about helping the most vulnerable people through his expertise in capoeira.

 
 
 

Nikkie Menting

Capoeira Trainer

Nikkie Menting started doing capoeira with capoeira school Semente in Haarlem, Holland, in 2004. In 2016 she travelled to Bahia, Brazil to learn more about capoeira and in 2017 she travelled to Jordan to teach capoeira as a form of psychosocial support. Currently, Nikkie is researching the benefits of capoeira for mental wellbeing as a part of her MA Conflict Studies and Human Rights degree. She hopes to provide students with the same sense of connectedness, friendship and belonging that she found in capoeira when she was growing up.

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Sherbel Dissi

Media Volunteer

Ahmad Muhsen, better known as Sherbel Dissi, is a documentary photographer and videographer based in Amman, Jordan. Sherbel’s first project as a documentary photographer was the “Highest Point in Za'atari Refugee Camp". The photos of the project reflect the basic everyday life of Syrians refugees inside the refugee camp. Sherbel works with Save the Children Jordan and studies Media and Journalism at the University of Petra in Jordan. Sherbel volunteers his time with Capoeira al-Shababi in media and translation, actively supporting capoeira projects in Jordan, as well as training capoeira himself.

 

Our Partners

  Lutheran World Federation   LWF is a communion of 145 churches working for a just, peaceful and reconciled world. Capoeira al-Shababi provides capoeira session in LWF's community centres in Jordan.

Lutheran World Federation

LWF is a communion of 145 churches working for a just, peaceful and reconciled world. Capoeira al-Shababi provides capoeira session in LWF's community centres in Jordan.

  Noor al-Hussein Institute for Family Health   The Institute for Family Health (IFH) is a regional model providing comprehensive family healthcare services and training for professionals and caretakers in the fields of family healthcare,child protection, and rehabilitation for survivors of gender-based violence and torture.

Noor al-Hussein Institute for Family Health

The Institute for Family Health (IFH) is a regional model providing comprehensive family healthcare services and training for professionals and caretakers in the fields of family healthcare,child protection, and rehabilitation for survivors of gender-based violence and torture.

  Relief International Jordan   Relief International holds education centers in Jordan's Za'atari and Azraq refugee camps, which provide recreational activities and support. Capoeira al-Shababi offers capoeira sessions to these students, assisting in psychosocial care and support for Relief International's programming.

Relief International Jordan

Relief International holds education centers in Jordan's Za'atari and Azraq refugee camps, which provide recreational activities and support. Capoeira al-Shababi offers capoeira sessions to these students, assisting in psychosocial care and support for Relief International's programming.

  Global Giving   Global Giving is the largest global crowdfunding community that connects non-profits, donors and companies in an effort to build the capacity and effectiveness of organisations to make the world a better place.

Global Giving

Global Giving is the largest global crowdfunding community that connects non-profits, donors and companies in an effort to build the capacity and effectiveness of organisations to make the world a better place.

Our Supporters

 
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