Education & Schooling
September Mon 24, 2012
The AVSI project in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya will be presented as a model of international cooperation at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. The UN has invited Adrawa Deogracious Droma, manager of this program born out of a collaboration between the Italian NGO and the Ugandan Permanent Center for Education. The AVSI representative will speak at the conference entitled "Civil society and human rights education as an instrument for the promotion of religious tolerance", organized as part of the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations. Faced with the threat of war and famine afflicting Somalia, thousands of refugees are fleeing the country to seek refuge in Kenya, and AVSI provides an answer to the educational needs of these people. Ilsussidiario.net interviewed Deogracious Droma to ask him for a preview of the contents of his speech that will take place on September 27.What are you working on in the Dadaab refugee camp?There are not enough qualified teachers in the camp, and so we are collaborating with the University of Kenya to prepare teachers, choosing them from among the refugees themselves. Most of the Kenyan teachers claim that the work in the refugee camp is not stimulating. That is why we have begun the initiative to train displaced people to do this profession. AVSI and the Permanent Center for Education of Kampala, together with UNHCR, UNICEF and the FAO have organized more than 30 workshops, in which more than 2,000 refugees participated.What are the characteristics of your project?Before professionally training the teachers, our objective is to engage their humanity, starting from the fact that teaching can be a fascinating adventure both for the teacher and for the student. This allowed us to interact with a large number of refugees who aspired to become teachers, and we received very positive responses. Our premise was that education is first and foremost a companionship, a journey that teacher and student go on together.How did the refugees react to your proposal?The workshops were the occasion to break down the barrier that could have divided us. At first we were afraid of the risks inherent in our religious and cultural differences, which could have been an obstacle to our proposals. All of the Somali are Muslim, in fact, while the refugees from Sudan and other parts of Kenya are Protestant, “born again” Christians. What we realized in time is that the human heart is the same regardless of cultural and religious differences.What counts, then, is to turn to this common center, the heart. How were you able to do this?
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