Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sud Academy Reveals...

The Power of Words
by Suzzanne Pautler

The Necessary Arts team spent the first day of the journey enveloped in the warmth, energy, and love of 35 children, despite rain clouds and flooding outside.  The second day was spent under bright, sunny African skies, while observing the beauty of animals and nature coexisting in Lake Nakuru National Park.  The power of words was not only evident, but dominated our third day of the journey:

“My skin is too dark.”

“I am going to be a humanitarian.”

“I lived at Kakuma refugee camp for ten years.”

“I will fight Al Shabab.”

“I should be helping my mother with her work, like washing clothes and fetching water.”

“The doctor chased us and said,’Why have you come so late? Your child will die!’”

“My mother bought me new brown shoes and a pink shirt because I was #1 in my class.”

“Only families with a girl survive. The family depends upon her dowry.”

“One person can make a difference in the world.”

These sentences may seem to be lacking a common thread, but in fact, were all expressed during our workshop at Sud Academy today.  Six teachers educate the 250 students enrolled at the school. 75% of the students are refugees, predominantly from South Sudan, as well as Congo, Somalia, and Uganda, living here without parents. The principal himself is former child soldier, trained by the rebels, until a bullet in his leg landed him in a hospital.  After recovery, he had no home, parents or sisters to return to, and instead fled his country to arrive in a Kenyan refugee camp.  The remaining 25% are “needy” Kenyans, we were told, with most coming from a single parent home, with that parent working to have just enough money to take care of basic needs each and every day.

Our students today, ranging in age from 11-20, seemingly have nothing as they attend the workshop in torn uniforms, sporting buttons sewn on with different colored threads.  Yet truthfully, they have so much. Their understanding of who they are as individuals, the love and support received from their brothers and sisters, the value of education, the smiles and encouragement shared by their principal, and the work ethic to succeed, all combine to create motivated, determined students who will rise.

The students will become the change makers who make a difference in society.  With a combination of passion, knowledge, and optimism, a better tomorrow will ensue day after day.  It is an honor to work amongst these young men and women, and we look forward to their continued growth and development.  Once again, Necessary Arts has reached an unreachable population, helping the students realize the power and self-confidence within, the strength of one’s own voice, and the power of one’s words.

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