According to the Humanitarian Response Plan for Cameroun issued in July 2020 by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the socio-political crisis in North West and South West regions of Cameroun that started in November 2017 is among the four major humanitarian crises in Cameroun and the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises have, uprooted and internally displaced more than 680,000, and have caused an increase in reports of human rights violations and abuses.
Children have been the most affected as they are deprived of Education due to the violence geared towards school institutions and education stakeholders. Access to education is a basic human right, yet these children are victims of the crisis made to stay home out of their will. Therefore developing alternative education for children these children becomes very necessary for achieving a sustainable world. With this conflict deeply rooted in colonialism and identity crisis, the project takes a holistic approach by imploring Arts and Culture Education.
Arts and Cultural education consist of self-consciousness, capacity for reflection, and creative and innovative ways of learning which enable them to acquire life skills and reach their full potential. The Companion is therefore providing innovative, inclusive and fun ways of learning and sharing among children who have been deprived of education for more than 3 years now in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon.
As children immerse themselves in these artistic activities, they develop competencies such as reading and writing, Nonviolent Communication and Alternative to violence skills. It creates a proper understanding and tolerance towards different cultures. Volunteers involved in this program are acquiring leadership and community service skills while the community benefits from safe spaces for children to commune together.
As schools are gradually resuming, though on and off, SHF has extended this program to kindergarten and primary schools with a reach of over 6000 children in 3 years.