Nikita Shahbazi


I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran until 1991, when I left the country with my family and got asylum in the Netherlands. There I adjusted to a radically different life, learned Dutch and English, and continued my education. I earned a master’s degree in social psychology and have worked as a consultant at the United Nations and as a lecturer and human rights defender at the human rights organisation for the right to adequate food and nutrition (FIAN). Growing up during the war between Iran and Iraq, I carried a lot of stress throughout my childhood, and in the first several years after moving to the Netherlands. Movement and mindfulness were essential in helping me to alleviate this psychological stress, and manage the kind of psychological challenges faced by people who have experienced war in their childhoods. First movement, and later yoga and mindfulness, helped me physically and emotionally, and enabled me to adapt and grow.

That is how I have completed a Dance & Teacher Training, Aerobics & Steps Instructor Training, a Mindfulness Course, and have given dance, aerobics, and steps lessons as well as morning yoga sessions in Amsterdam. I have also followed the 5 Rhythms space holder orientation-module and am Sweat Space-Holder of the 5 Rhythms  in Lebanon.

As my career and personal life progressed, I gained more and more insights that the main way to empowerment, in through working on the body through movement as well as on the mindset through mindfulness.

Once Marcella Villareal, the director of a department of the FAO suggested: “As long as women do not gain control over their bodies, they won’t exert control over their land and income.”This was the beginning of her journey to set up the IMOVE foundation. As she has  always been active in the field of dance, and yoga, she saw more and more evidence of the positive impacts of yoga, physical activities, and dance on the wellbeing of women and children.

As I was confronted with the influx of Syrians flowing to neighboring countries, the insights, experiences and knowledge I have gained through my journey to break free from my own mental and physical stress motivated me to set up IMOVE Foundation. Through offering mindfulness, movement therapy, yoga as well as basic English lessons, IMOVE create for disadvantaged children outlets for creative expression and provides them with constructive supervised support in a safe and caring environment to transform their lives, contributing to a healthier, more peaceful, prosperous world.


Given the extent of displaced in Lebanon

and the depth of their needs, we hope to grow and expand

to reach more children and women.

Your donations, no matter how large or small,

can make the difference.

Support us now.

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