Updated Jul 05, 2018


Capoeira4Refugees uses the sport, music and play of capoeira to provide psychosocial support and informal education to vulnerable girls and women in conflict-affected communities throughout the Middle East and beyond.


Ummul Choudhury

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Focus Areas:

Extracurricular or Out-of School Activities, Emotional Development, Peace and Resilience and 4 MoreSEE ALL

Extracurricular or Out-of School Activities, Emotional Development, Peace and Resilience, Humanitarian Assistance, Leadership Development, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Positive Youth DevelopmentSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Syria, Palestinian Territories, Jordan and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Syria, Palestinian Territories, Jordan and TurkeySEE LESS

Countries Implemented In


Arab female refugees face issues that are compounded by sexism and ideas of honour and shame; ideas that are often internalized. Girls need opportunities to access safe spaces and networks that allow them to challenge norms, and enable them to deal with traumatic experiences. Psychosocial support is essential to empowering girls to become actors of change for themselves.



A competitive process to award grassroots community Changemakers with a 2-year support and training package, including mentoring, to scale change themselves. We will also tap them into an international network that can support their projects. We have based our innovation on grassroots capoeira projects working with women_s safe houses, girls prisons, and refugees starting a decade ago. We trained up local trainers who were able to reach into their communities to access more girl students, and create a network of support for their students. These trainers went on to run their own initiatives, and benefit from a cloud based network. We are piloting a decentralized network via the trainers themselves i.e. working with projects and fledgling initiatives that are already in place. We aim to expand the Award out of the Middle East context to Western Europe and then potentially to other contexts using different forms of art and culture. A girl_s journey can begin when she learns of activities through a cousin who is singing songs or practicing movements. She can take her mother to the class. Trainers involve community leaders, speak to parents and use their networks to create trust and allow access. Classes can happen in someone_s home, a school or community centre. The girls have a safe space, a role model and figure of trust, a network through which to access other resources, they feel more confident and able to concentrate better, and take instruction.

Target Beneficiaries

Through the pilot awards 4 Changemakers, who themselves are from emergency situations; both protracted and current conflicts, are taking part in a training programme that includes learning psychosocial skills, and are reaching 150 students in their communities. This includes 1 female changemaker who is training up future trainers. The user is both the Changemaker and their students. Ages range from 8 to 45. A condition of the Award is that local winners outreach to girls if they are not already doing so (with support as necessary, and integrated gender training). We design what success looks like with the changemakers, and use a curriculum, and specifically designed measuring system iterated from practical experience. Communities benefit through owning the projects that support them with psychosocial support. We are scaling internationally, through our related online network (which is part of our decentralized network approach) and partnerships with relevant organizations.

Mission and Vision


Innovation Description

Pioneers in the space, 2 year fellowship to providing psychosocial support through sport and culture to refugees in some incredibly hard to reach areas.

Competitive Advantage

We are the organization that helps big INGOs gain access to conflict impacted communities. Based on these learnings we launched an innovative award process to access grassroots Changemakers. These trainers would normally never be able to access international networks/training to support their community projects. Using a network approach we leverage the prevalence of social media that allows communities to be created at a global level. We have also created a portfolio of solutions for dealing with: the unbanked; risks of working with vulnerable communities; entities that have no legal structure, and data collection. We are pioneers in our awards approach to providing psychosocial support through sport and culture to refugees in some incredibly hard to reach areas. Our track record of understanding who we work with and building up from that for the last decade, and related successes, leads us to know that we, as a community, can make this innovation a success.
Funding Goal100


Jun 2018
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
TITLEInspired Leadership Award
Nov 2017
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
TITLESpeaking at TEDx
Jan 2011
New Country Implemented In
Palestinian Territories
Feb 2010
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
UK registration as a charity
TITLEUK registration as a charity
Jul 2007
New Country Implemented In