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Capoeira in Congo
A Multimedia Project

An immersion in the universe of Capoeira as instrument for promoting peace in conflict areas like North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ancestry, Reconnection, Afrocentricity.

Capoeira evokes these concepts. Capoeira is a ancestral element of the black diaspora that is reconnecting Brazil and Africa.

D.R. Congo

The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa

The conflict officially ended in 2002, but this war-torn country in Central Africa still struggles to heal the wounds from armed clashes that perpetuate to the present day.

6 million lost their lives. More than 1 million people were displaced.

Despite being one of the richest countries with diamond, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc, the D.R.C is among the least developed nations. The legacy of years of atrocities, instability and widespread violence resulted in more than half of its population living below the poverty line.

In every 5 minutes, 4 women are victims of raped. The UN reports that more than 200,000 Congolese women and children have been victims of sexual violence.

The conflict generated a mass exodus. 1,7 million people have been displaced (OCHA, June 2016).

Those families had to flee their homes in search for a safe shelter.


Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art characterized by non-violent movements

It mixes the practice of sports, acrobatics, music and popular culture.
It started in Brazil by African slave descendants. It is considered by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The use of Capoeira in the D.R.C became a powerful tool to help demobilized children and adolescents from armed groups and victims of violence.

Former child soldiers of rebel groups and girls victims of violence and forced recruitment receive classes on how to practice this genuinely Brazilian martial art.

They also learn how to play instruments and how to sing.

Photo: UN, Abel Kavanagh, Jan 2016. MONUSCO, Katanga Province.

The initiative led by the Governments of Brazil and Canada, UNICEF and AMADE-Mondiale addresses self-confidence and self-esteem within children and their families. The goal is to reduce inequalities and help to heal traumas. In a war-torn country with ethnic roots and embedded with commercial interests, it is crucial to rebuild community ties and restore a culture of peace.
Photo: Stefano Toscano. Mestre Saudade.

Twice a week, girls at the Heal Africa hospital in central Goma are taught how to play Capoeira. Boys at the Transit and Guidance Centre (CTO) CAJED also learn the martial art. The CTO is a place for helping the reintegration within the society of children victims of violence and demobilized from armed gangs.

Both Heal Africa and CTO CAJED are UNICEF partners

With the practice comes self-confidence, emotional strengthening, community building, overcoming gender differences, reducing inequalities and healing traumas.

Social impact

“Capoeira helped me get back up and it is important that girls who go through difficulties, like me, know that not all hope is lost,” said the 17 year-old Nadia.

The testimony was given by the teenager and posted on Ponabana, a blog run by a young team of Congolese writers.

Nadia got pregnant after suffering sexual violence in a neighborhood in Goma. She found in Capoeira a safe space to free her mind and gain psychological strengthen. Stories like Nadia’s proliferate among girls and boys benefited by Capoeira.


Immersion in the universe of the Brazilian Capoeira in the D.R.C.

For a month, the duo formed by the Luso-Brazilian journalist Fabíola Ortiz and the Brazilian photographer-videomaker Flavio Forner shall go to some localities in Goma where the project “Capoeira for Peace” is implemented.

Both Ortiz and Forner are dedicated to the coverage of social and human rights.

We intend to visit the hospital Heal Africa that takes care of women and girls former victims of violence and also visit the CTO CAJED for newly demobilized boys from rebel armed groups.

This multimedia project aims to gather stories, narratives, audiovisual snippets, photo essays about Congo. Our expedition to North Kivu will be registered in multiple forms.

We will speak to people we will meet in our journey, people who practice Capoeira, experts on human rights and historians.

We want to tell the story of people engaged in Capoeira, people who had their lives transformed by this art.

It is one of the ancestral elements that is connecting Brazil and Africa. We want to communicate this in a website with a visual display that mixes text and images.


+1 (301) 919 1594 (WhatsApp)
+45 52 824 116 (mobile Denmark)
skype: fabiola_ortiz


+55 (11) 959 990 499 (WhatsApp)
skype: flavio_forner


Social Media Assistant


Social Media Assistant


Fixer and Translator


The final product

Development and visual display of an online platform

Nutshell videos with testimonies

Photo gallery

Storytelling with exclusive interviews with children and adolescents who learn how to play Capoeira

Help us engage in this conversation

What we think

In-depth journalism is crucial to guarantee human, civil, and political rights. It is an important tool to ensure access to information of public interest and an element to transform reality.

Forner and Ortiz strongly believe the role independent journalism plays to promote public debate, encourage change and keep alive the sustainable development goals in the agenda.

There is a need for groundbreaking and innovative storytelling approaches to report on conflict and trauma. But also on concepts of resistance, cultural heritage and ancestral in a historical perspective with the notion that individuals are subjects and agents acting on their own cultural image according to their own human interests.

Information has a powerful role in defusing tension, reducing conflicts, and contributing to the healing process of traumatic events.

Independent journalism may act as unifier in a polarized society and is pivot for conflict prevention, management and resolution. In addition to having a fundamental role in giving visibility to positive actions and initiatives that are already being carried out in communities and that deserve to be counted.

“As journalist and historian, I’m very interested in approaching how Capoeira, this Afro-Brazilian martial art, has been ever more used as an important element of Brazil-Africa reconnection. Capoeira in the D.R.C represents an attempt of recovering the ancestrality developed at a time of resistance in the African diaspora and which is been applied today in the education and integration of former-child soldiers in overcoming their traumas.”
Fabíola Ortiz / Independent Journalist and Historian

“Through my lenses, I intend to record the human expression of children who practice Capoeira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a photographer, I am interested in documenting how the culture of the enslaved ancestors is helping so many Congolese boys and girls in the ‘Capoeira for Peace’ initiative in Goma.”
Flavio Forner / Independent Photojournalist


If you are interested in our project and believe that independent in-depth journalism is worth, please contribute to our reporting proposal and help us make it happen! =)

For more information about our project, queries on how to donate, report any error, please fill in the online form below or send us an email to: capoeirapaix@gmail.com

We are sure to answer your message as soon as possible.


Radio CBN Brazil (Portuguese)

Brasileiro leva capoeira para educar crianças na República Democrática do Congo
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Noticias Positivas+, Argentina (Spanish)

Capoeira Congo, un arte marcial como instrumento para promover la paz en áreas de conflicto
Monday, April 3, 2017

All Africa (English)

Congo-Kinshasa: Brazilian Capoeira Heals Wounds in the DRC
Monday, April 3, 2017

Supported by


Institutional Support


Friends of the Project

The photos used in this website are authored by Stefano Toscano/UNICEF and MONUSCO.