Energizing Goudoubo Refugee Community Through Art
“Joining the class was better for me, for loneliness. I didn’t have friends before the project. Now everyone in the project is my friend.”
-Feedy, age 15, Goudoubo Project Participant
March 2014 – June 2014
Goudoubo Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso
36 youth participants
Promoted tolerance and unity
Following the success of our Energizing a Refugee Community Through Art project, we received funding to execute a similar project in Goudoubo Refugee Camp. At the time of the project, the camp was home to approximately 10,500 Malian refugees who had fled from Touareg rebels and Islamic extremists, who had been creating a violent and unsafe situation for the people living in northern Mali since early 2012.
Colors of Connection, in partnership with the Save the Children, targeted 36 out-of-school youth aged 12-18 to create two murals in public spaces in Goudoubo.
This project was designed to promote greater tolerance amongst the different ethnic groups in the camp, a more vibrant civil society, portrayal of culture, and self-awareness.
Because of additional support to this project provided by Laurie Reyman, Colors of Connection’s Organizational Development Director and a trained social worker, this project added components of addressing the deeper psychosocial needs of the youth and the community, as well as lessons on conflict resolution and non-violent communication for the participants.
Under the guidance of the Project Director, Christina Mallie, and a community arts council made up of a group of interested community leaders, youth coming from three different ethnic groups in the camp: Touareg, Arab and Peul, designed and painted two murals on the walls of two schools in the camp over the course of nine weeks. The youth transformed these public spaces into positive visualizations of their hopes for themselves and their communities, while learning valuable skills in the use of the arts. The two themes identified by the community leaders for the murals were Education and Peaceful-Cohabitation, reflecting their hopes and dreams for their communities.
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“I feel joy when I look at the murals because I see a message of peace, and now I am hopeful of returning to my country in peace because if the youth, who are the strength of the society, understand this message of peaceful cohabitation, all will be well for the future.”
-Ati Wallet Ibrahim, Resident of Goudoubo Refugee Camp