Every child is an artist. This thought is lost in almost every child living in rural communities. Rural communities have no access to quality education, even when education is provided through schools, it is limited to a very few subjects that are replicated from textbooks to students’ mind, hindering their ability to be expressive and creative. From primary schools to secondary schools, education is a dearth. What is the future if students are not given the freedom and taught “Free Thinking” away from the usual textbooks been sold and taught to our forefathers? Education should be an expression of mind. In Imafon community where DURIAN is situated, there is only one public secondary school provided by the Rotary club of Akure which is of lower standard with not enough teachers and very few students to attend classes because of lack of interest and distance. While this community is able to provide a public secondary school education, there is no public primary school for kids whose parents have no means of income to send their wards to a private school which has equal quality with public schools if not worse. This is very sad. In other to help students from Imafon Community High School be free thinkers, we introduced one of our projects on transforming Waste to Art. Waste to art is a project in partnership with Barat Foundation and High School NGO Connect on their Creation Nations Public art.
The project connects students from Imafon Royal High School and Uplift Academy, Newark, New Jersey together. They will be creating animodules to celebrate the concept of peace and togetherness no matter the distance.
“Separated by geography and culture, talented high school students in Akure, Nigeria and Newark, New Jersey, cope with shared challenges arising from economic distress. Their narratives defy expectations. Casual observers suppose that daily exposure to hunger, violence, drugs, sub-par health care and unemployment saps resilience. The opposite is often true. The trappings of poverty reinforce youthful determination to make the world a better place. Toward that end, they seek visibility and a voice.”
Just as the students of Imafon Community High School are excited about this exchange programme, we are also positive that this programme will help the students understand who they are, their values, standards, and beliefs. It will also help them appreciate other cultures, tradition and belief systems and build tolerance for one another. We cannot wait to share the outcome. We are grateful to NGO High School Connect and The Barat Foundation for the opportunity.