“The ideals of Capoeira teach us to live in communion and to love our neighbor. Without these values, children would continue with the impetus to keep fighting. “
The Congolese Diedonne Mosikikongo Nkoy, 34, is one of the teachers of the Capoeira For Peace initiative.
He works as a UNICEF volunteer and is affectionately known in the world of Capoeira and by his students as Ninja Kalimba.
“I try to convey the values of peace through Capoeira. I want to be able to help these children get back to their lives. “
In the daily classes that he teaches in shelters for boys who have been associated with armed groups and in the Heal Africa hospital, Ninja tries to serve as an inspiration for the young ones.
“I tell them my life story so that they think they can also have a chance.”
Born in a family of eight brothers and sisters, his parents could not afford school fees. As teaching is not free in DR Congo, he and his siblings were not able to attend school.
At age 17, in Kinshasa, he left home to go after his life. After having lived in the streets and done odd jobs, one day he came across a free Capoeira class.
“It was as if God had sent Capoeira to me. Capoeira made me become who I am today.”
With a cheerful and always playful character, Ninja can easily catch the attention of children, even the most timid ones.
“Many come sad and sick. I see shy children and, with my comic talent, I can break the initial barrier and make them try to play Capoeira. Caring for children is in my blood”, he explains.
Ninja still does not know how much longer the Capoeira For Peace initiative will continue in the country. It all depends on international resources and donations that are directed to UNICEF .
“My dream is to teach Capoeira and to be able to help the children of all the Congo.”