In the Mole Refugee Camp in the Congo, refugees were introduced to Capoeira by a local aid group, ADSSE (Association pour le Developpement Social et la Sauvergarde de l’Environnement).
Reporter Celine Schmitt documented the rise of the art form in the refugee camp. “The Brazilian martial art includes elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and it is keeping people occupied and fit as well as helping ease tension between different groups of Central African Republic (CAR) refugees in this camp of more than 13,000 people in the far north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Capoeira has served as peaceful activity, an exercise that infuses rhythm and music and a way to release tension during an extremely difficult time of displacement.
Twenty eight-year-old Armand Kouissi explained, “I also see it as a tool to promote peace. At the beginning, we had some tensions, but thanks to capoeira we now get on well. Sports unite people,” he says, adding: “We think that capoeira is a tool that can be used to promote peaceful cohabitation in the camp. When we talk to people watching us during our training, we convey messages of peace.”
People of all ages and backgrounds have engaged in the martial art form and it has become an activity that everyone looks forward to. The facilitators involved believe that the peace that is promoted in the art form/sport, will translate into peace in the nation.