A dance of hope for child refugees in Middle East


“A groundbreaking social project is using the art of capoeira to coax shell-shocked and vulnerable children out from behind their painful memories and towards empowerment and hope.” I am glad that there are people out there who wish to help the innocent children who are forced to go through this terrible time in the Middle East. Having to go through times like these leads to aggression, violence, hyperactivity, depression and bedwetting and those are just some of the psychosocial symptoms commonly reported in the communities of the Middle East. “These desperately disadvantaged people can be hard to help,” executive director Ummul Choudhury tells Positive News. “Cultural sensitivities are high, unemployment is rife and poverty is normal. Young people with nothing to do, who feel unsafe, are vulnerable to drugs, crime and xenophobia. In such environments, interventions are difficult to sustain.”

It’s sad that in refugee camps these people are cramped, with families of ten or more living in just a few rooms. Getting work permits is basically impossible and families come under unbelievable stress. It’s no surprise that violence between young people is increasing. I wanted to learn a little bit more about refugee camps and had a conversation with my mother about it a week ago or so. She told me that before coming to America she was in a refugee camp in Sudan, where it was completely cramped from so many Ethiopians and Eritreans fleeing from their countries and that the tension between them were high and a lot of fighting broke out. So many people, like both of my parents wanted to just flee and get away from the fighting and the camps were filled with young kids (my parents both barely 20) filled with so much anger and confusion. I can imagine how scary it must have been to leave your country at such a young age, unsure of what would happen and go to a foreign land, or be stuck in a cramped refugee camp for a long period of time. The charity teaches capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines dance, music, sport and play, to groups of children. If only previous camps have done this, maybe then some people would have been able to enjoy and forget the reality of what was really happening and save some kids from the downward spiral they might be going on.


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