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:
Peer support to restore support networks and foster companionship and community cohesion.
Play, expression and creativity - the backbone of healthy child development - through physical exercise and music.
Movement activities that serve as somatic healing from trauma and other stresses.
Safe spaces that encourage trust, dialogue, and social bonds among peers and with role models.
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.
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
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Laurie Ann Halbe
Volunteer Mental Health Expert
Laurie’s greatest passion in life is walking alongside individuals in their healing journey, and she believes we are all capable of healing when we are met with presence by others and provided with appropriate supports along the way.
Laurie has an interest in somatic practices to help individuals in their healing, which is why she is inspired by and motivated to work with Capoeira Al Shababi, providing capoeira as a psychosocial support.
Laurie has previously worked as an arts educator, in protective services, and in the behavioural health sector. She hopes to use her experience to develop trainings around trauma-informed care.