Last week our youth from the Capoeira program Playing for Freedom had the chance to take part in the second batizado, or graduation ceremony, in their own community of Ciudad Bolívar. The ceremony took place in the local school, with guests from the Capoeira Nativos group in Bogotá and under the supervision of Mestre Macaco Aranha. A total 21 children and youth received cords in different colors corresponding to different levels in Capoeira, and got their efforts recognized by the Brazilian mestre and other cpoeiristas. A big Thank You to all our supporters who helped make this dream come true for our youth by donating online and offline!
During the ceremony six of our newest participants got their first cords, corresponding to Level 1 in the Capoeira Nativos ranking system, another eight students received level 3 cords, three got Level 5, two got Level 6 and one was awarded a Level 7 cord. All students received brand new uniforms and were happy to take part in the graduation roda with their beloved trainer Cristhian Casallas, Mestre M. Aranha and other experienced capoeiristas.
Many parents and other relatives of our students were present at the event and felt proud to see their children receive recognition for discipline, dedication and achievements in Capoeira. The batizado started with a short training and instructions by the mestre and other experienced capoeristas to the children and youth. A memorable quote by Mestre M. Aranha was "Poor is only he who does not have life." Then the ceremony continued with a roda where the project leader, Cristhian Casallas, and the visitors from the Capoeira Nativos group played with the youth and gave them the new cords at the end of the game. Finally, everyone was singing and dancing and the proud parents could take photos of their children with the new uniforms and cords.
Playing for Freedom (Jugando por la Libertad) is a social program by Nukanti Foundation aimed at providing psychosocial support to children and youth affected by extreme poverty, violence and forced displacement in Colombia, using Capoeira as a tool. Capoeira is a dynamic combination of martial arts, music, and dance from Brazil evolving from the struggle of enslaved Africans against their oppressors. Thanks to some of the principles inherent to Capoeira, like unity in diversity, equality, inclusion, respect, responsibility, and tolerance, it is considered to be an efficient tool to transform the lives of socially excluded youth.