Celebrating the work of Alliance partner on World Refugee Day

20/06/2019 – Association Filhos de Bimba – Lebanon (FBL) is a member of the Fight for Peace Alliance, a global community of over 100 organisations working together to support the growth and development of young people in communities affected by crime and violence. To mark World Refugee Day 2019, we invited our partners to give an insight into the work they do with those fleeing conflict – part of a wider programme of support delivered by the organisation to young people across a number of locations in Lebanon.

“With many areas in Lebanon at the forefront of the response to the Syrian Crisis, children from both host and displaced communities often struggle to practice their natural right to play and engage in activities for leisure and social interaction. To facilitate this right and help refugee children integrate and release tension, at Association Filhos de Bimba -Lebanon (FBL), we introduce Capoeira. 

The nature and essence of this unique sport allows children to learn and play in a safe environment and encourages notions of patience, self-defence, gender equality, teamwork, and mutual respect. It aims specifically to help children develop their physical, social and emotional capabilities; overcome social, economic, and cultural exclusion, stigmatisation, stereotyping, and violence; and achieve their personal aspirations, ultimately enabling them to reshape their reality. 

FBL is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) created in 2010 by educators and students of Capoeira. It introduced the hybrid system of arts and acrobatic movements characteristic specific to this traditional Brazilian martial arts form. The approach to the intervention is holistic and multi-layered, and uses a triad of sports, music, and dance as a catalyst for social change and improved wellbeing of residents within marginalised communities in Lebanon.

Given the highly effective and well-researched impact of martial arts among children, youth and adults from multiple backgrounds, and the impact of Capoeira specifically among marginalised groups, FBL has been able to successfully implement and develop complex social-educational projects in multiple regions in Lebanon that aim at promoting peace and empowering children and youth.

We work with local partners and NGOs in order to access a wider group of people and to pass on the message of Capoeira in different locations across the country. Our activities are always inclusive and open to all, and we have worked with refugee communities, visually impaired and blind persons, young people in prisons, and more.

We are adamant on collecting feedback from all participants to measure the impact our activities have on areas where children are most affected: behaviour, self-image, tolerance, empathy, and an outlook to the future. So far, we are proud to say that we have touched many lives who found in Capoeira a sense of purpose, confidence, physical strength, and a healthy way to express frustration.

“It’s an activity that forges self-confidence…”

“It eases the soul and brings happiness…”

“I feel happy in class and I learnt how to defend myself…”

The feedback collected from a group of children – both female and male, Lebanese and Syrian – via questionnaires in Aanjar, North Lebanon indicate notions of confidence, mediated anger, social interaction, a sense of calm, and overall enjoyment. These are some of the pillars upon which Association Filhos de Bimba – Lebanon (FLB) builds its approach and directs its impact.

We hope to further expand our reach and realise the long-term impact our activities have on the children we work with, specifically the refugee children who have endured much more than their capacity to intake. The children we work with are always happy and calmer after class and excited about the next Capoeira session. We hope to reach as many children as we can and spread a message through a sport that combines trust, discipline, physical activity, and above all, fun.”