Notes from the field: the two mural themes continued:
For the second theme, education, I’ve also gone through a process of identifying the meaning and value of education for this community. Education has been defined in three ways, Koronic, Classic/Western, and Alphabetization (literacy). The community arts council has made it clear that all three are needed together to achieve education. Even in the camps the Koronic schools are present alongside the classic education programs that are run by the ONG Plan. The idea of how a greater presence of education might change the reality of the communities in northern Mali was discussed with the community. Leaders pointed out that it would lead to greater self-governance, leaders making decisions for their own communities, would improve communities in the north, bring development. Self-representation was recognized to be a powerful result of education. It was also discussed that many Touareg only know how to herd animals, and that education would open up their lives to different possibilities in types of work. However the challenge is that the work of herding and the nomadic lifestyle often prevents Touareg youth from attending school.
The issue of the rights of women in education was also raised.
One women leader brought up the issue of forced child marriage and how these early marriages prevent girls from continuing with their education and gaining a high school level diploma. Another woman leader pointed out that as woman already do so much commerce, it would be good if they gained an education, it would make their small business more successful. Women’s roles as wives and mothers, and the idea that young women/girls are more desirable for marriage when they are young prevents women from getting a good education. It is sure that the community sees some ways women benefits from education. To discuss the rights of women and girls in education I’ve brought to the classroom the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of discrimination against women, articles 10 which declares the rights of women and girls to an education free of discrimination, and article 16 which declares that women and girls have the right to chose whom they want to marry, when and how many children they want, as well as the need for governments to set a minimum age for marriage.
Two powerful things said by leaders in the community in support of education:
“The things that are broken in Mali are caused by ignorance. Ignorance has caused the war, and the poverty in our country.” – Women president of Mentao Sud
“To be without education is to be blind. Education permits you to clearly see
a good future for your community. “ – Committee Director of Mentao Sud
The youth decided to express the following ideas that will be depicted in images on the Education Mural Bissongo/L’École Maternal, Mentao Est:
All three types of education, classic, koronic and literacy will be expressed: for the koronic school a Marabout teaching children in front of a mosque, for the literacy school a teacher teaching a class of both young and old the alphabet, for the classic education, a teacher teaching mathematics to a student in front of a blackboard.
To show an example of a type of work one could have with education the mural will show a doctor in the process of caring for a patient.
To show a community governing itself there will be a group of people having a meeting with a leader. There will also be buildings in the process of being constructed.
To show the equal opportunity of women to education, a women will be depicted bring both her son and daughter to a school.