Mentao

A detail of the Peace through Human Rights Mural depicts a peaceful protest expressing the right to participation in politics and government as well as the names of the participants who created it, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 2014. Participant Ibrahim, age 17, at his home in Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, November 2013. Project Director Christina Mallie in an introductory meeting with leaders from Mentao Sud Sud, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, November 2013. A self-portrait created by participant Hatti, age 12, was the product of one of several psychosocial arts activities, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, November 2013.  Young children are entertained by the priming of the Peace Through Human Rights Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, November 2013. Hatti, age 12, one of the few girls who climbed the ladders during the project, draws on the Importance of Education Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, January 2014. (From left) Video and photography assistant Dalla, accompanied by two participants, records the progress of the Importance of Education Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, January 2014. Tayate, age 16, puts finishing touches on the Importance of Education Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 2014. School children gather around the Peace Through Human Rights Mural located on the side of their primary school building, while artist assistant Mohamed makes corrections, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, January 2014. A youth knowledgeable in the Koran and Arabic helps to write phrases on the Korans that are depicted in the Importance of Education Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 2014. Mohamed, age 14, in front of the Importance of Education Mural which he contributed to creating, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 2014.  (Front and center) Muphtah Ag Mohamed, Vice President of Committee of Men, gives a certificate of participation to Syatou, age 18, at the graduation ceremony, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 13, 2014. A refugee passes the completed Importance of Education Mural, Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, February 2014.

  • About This Project

    Colors of Connection, in partnership with the International Emergency and Development Aid Relief (IEDA Relief) who manage Mentao Refugee Camp, targeted 36 out-of-school youth aged 12-18 to create two murals in public spaces in Mentao, home to 10,500 Malian refugees.

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    Energizing a Refugee Community Through Art
    Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso
    November 2013 – February 2014

    When the northern half of Mali was overtaken by Touareg rebels and Islamic extremists in early 2012, thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and flee across the border into Burkina Faso and other countries where they have been housed in multiple refugee camps. Colors of Connection, in partnership with the International Emergency and Development Aid Relief (IEDA Relief) who manage Mentao Refugee Camp, targeted 36 out-of-school youth aged 12-18 to create two murals in public spaces in Mentao, home to 10,500 Malian refugees. Energizing a Refugee Community Through Art was designed to address several significant dversities faced by this community. In addition to assisting youth, this project addressed issues related to promoting greater tolerance amongst the different ethnic groups in the camp, a more vibrant civil society, portrayal of culture, and self-awareness.

    This project worked with a diverse group of boys and girls, some who had dropped out of school, some who were illiterate and had only attended Koranic school, and some who were waiting for an opportunity to continue their education at high school, which was not available in the camp. The community, predominantly of the Touareg ethnic group, but also including Arab and Peul families, collaborated with the project director, Christina, throughout the project and the relationships that were built during this process were both unique and rewarding.

    The two murals created by the youth affirmed the importance of education for this community and asserted human rights as a path to achieving peace in Mali. The Peace Through Human Rights mural expresses specific rights found in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) that community leaders expressed were missing from their lives in Northern Mali, such as the right to life and security, the right to free movement and speech and the right to participate in politics and government. Amidst efforts at reconciliation and negotiating a way forward in Mali, these rights are an important reminder of the issues that need to be addressed for a real and lasting peace. In the Importance of Education mural, several different forms of education that the community leaders support are represented: Western, Koranic and Alphabetization/Literacy. The images depict how the leaders imagine education could positively transform their communities and help resolve issues related to the current conflict, including self-representation and educated girls and women leading to greater economic stability.

  • Multimedia

    Mentao Project Photos
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