Combating the Differences
Erasmus+ training course

Erasmus+ training course “Combating the Differences” took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on 22nd – 30st of September, 2019. The mobility gathered 24 participants coming from Lithuania, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Hungary and Czech Republic. The project aimed to promote capoeira as a therapeutic activity and to teach youth workers key skills necessary to lead capoeira therapy sessions.

The inspiration for the Project

The main motivation for us as a youth organisation to host this project was the chance for a complex problem-solving. As we are working with youth, we aim to make the lives of the young people better. We often see in our work how young people with dysfunctional backgrounds are suffering from a number of issues. Young people with behaviour disorders or coming from disadvantaged families are often insecure and self-doubting. Therefore, they are at risk of social marginalisation and face increased social barriers.

About 650 thousand people (23%) in Lithuania live below the poverty threshold. The biggest risk to live in poverty is experienced by households with one adult and supported children (41,9%). Obviously, these youngsters need not only financial but emotional and therapeutical support as well. One of the ways to help these troubled youngsters feel more confident is through capoeira.

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that incorporates game, music and dance. It can be used as a therapeutic activity that brings members of a community closer together. “Combating the Differences” seeks to encourage people to engage with their own cultural heritage and to discover all forms of it around the world.

The project’s aim was to train the youth workers (primarily those who already have experience with physical activities, e.g. dancing), working with youth who have disadvantaged backgrounds to include capoeira therapy sessions in their work with youngsters. Capoeira therapy is superior to other types of therapy in the sense that it develops musical, motoric and social skills all at the same time.

Objectives of the Project

(1) popularise capoeira as an inclusive activity;

(2) acquaint youth workers with the main ideas of capoeira, its physical and musical sides;

(3) generate capoeira games in which everyone can participate;

(4) create channels for sharing skills and tools of capoeira therapy among youth workers in different countries.

24 active people from 6 different countries came to the training course which was held in Kaunas, Lithuania. During the mobility, youth workers have learnt about capoeira therapy. Participants have learnt capoeira basics and precautions that should be taken in order to have safe, enjoyable, inclusive and beneficial therapy sessions. Moreover, they have deepened their knowledge about physical therapies in general.

Project’s Activities

  • introduction to various therapeutic methods / learning capoeira moves and music in workshops / discussing physical therapies / learning how to work with youth with fewer opportunities;
  • a lecture by a guest speaker taught how to safely practice physical activities with children and youngsters / discussion helped to determine what to look out for when leading therapy sessions;
  • brainstorming and presenting of inclusive capoeira games, making tutorials for youth workers how to carry them out / shooting motivational videos for others to join capoeira / getting a closer look into capoeira’s effects on communities, watching documentaries about capoeira;
  • a whole day was spent in Kazlų Rūdos “Saulės” school preparing for and leading a capoeira therapy session, as well as other NFE games;
  • participants led a capoeira class in a public space / revised the things learned.

Project’s Success

Project “Combating the Differences” proved to be a success. The participants have learnt the key skills necessary to tutor capoeira therapy classes and will be able to integrate these newly gained skills into their professional lives as youth workers. During this training course, the participants have learnt the basics of capoeira and will be qualified to teach capoeira movements, music and history and will know how to do that safely and efficiently. They will also be able to solve various problems and difficulties that can arise within their capoeira therapy practice.

In addition, youth workers improved their teamwork skills. Of course, as participants have learnt about social problems the troubled youth are experiencing, the reasons behind it and the ways to tackle them, they became more socially aware. Skills such as cultural awareness were also acquired as people from diverse backgrounds were learning and mingling together. The project also strengthened youth workers’ cooperation. Finally, they saw how Erasmus+ projects are implemented and may replicate them abroad.

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