"I want to go to School everyday because I will draw and colour" Praises Tantaw
In times of a crisis, alternative education as an emergency response becomes a key part of mitigation and recovery. The companion is an alternative education platform that is supporting children in the armed conflict town of Bamenda with attractive, and engaging approaches to learning. It is also supporting children who still do not have access to schools to be engaged at home and distracted from the armed conflict while developing skills through Arts and culture education.
Tantaw Praises is a pupil of CBC Menda, Bamenda who has lived firsthand the on-going armed conflict in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon. At the age of 6, she was able to distinguish the different sounds of gunshots, a survival tactic every child knows now in this warring region. The loud and densed sound of gunshots is the military, while the light whacky sounds indicates the militant fighters (This information is interpreted differently by different people but same purpose – knowing what to next to survive). Unlike most of you, the childhood games played around here are a mimic of the on-going armed conflict - burning of property, killing people, torturing women to show their hideouts of their scared husbands and sons. Having stayed home for about 2 years, the unsteady return to school has been met with reluctance and fear “Sometimes I am afraid to go to school” says Praises who is now able to trek a considerable distance to be in school.
However, she is liking going to school because of the new exciting activities incorporated in their curriculum by SHF. “I want to come to school every day because I want to draw and color”. Arts and Culture education contributes to an educational system which integrates physical, psychological and creative skills, making it possible to have dynamic and meaningful relations between; education, culture and arts.
We have learned from 3 years of working with children that if they are being taught to: study artistic work, get in contact with artists and engage in artistic activities, they will build a proactive, peaceful and prosperous society.