Children from different communities dance at an EU-funded workshop in Bangui. © IOM 2015
IOM has facilitated a dance workshop for some 50 vulnerable children from across Bangui as part of its European Union (EU)-funded Community Stabilization Project in the Central African Republic (CAR). The children live at Fondation Voix du Coeur, a home for some 200 vulnerable children of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, including street kids and orphans.
Souleymane Sanogo, a professional Malian dancer from the Performing Arts Research and Training Studio (PARTS) in Brussels, Belgium, led the workshop on an outdoor stage at the Alliance Française of Bangui (AFB), as part of a wider joint AFB-IOM campaign to improve social cohesion.
The workshop, part of a larger outreach programme to reach youth at-risk in mixed CAR communities, was an opportunity for the young people to interact with someone with a similar background from a country that also experienced significant turmoil recently.
Gerry, a 15-year-old from Bangui’s PK12 neighbourhood, which was badly affected by the intercommunal violence of 2014, admitted that it was his first dance class. “I want to travel when I’m older and then return to Bangui to be a teacher,” he said.
The outreach and socialization campaign is an integral part of IOM’s EU-funded Community Stabilization project, which promotes peaceful co-existence and dialogue among mixed communities. Other social cohesion activities supported by IOM have included community theatre, radio shows and public viewings of the 2014 World Cup.
In addition to social cohesion activities, the project has supported the rehabilitation of some 13 infrastructure projects, including the rehabilitation of schools, medical facilities, social centres and other public infrastructure.
Over 13,000 people, 41 per cent of them women, have participated in cash for work activities, cleaning canals, roads and schools. In addition, 141,000 community members have participated in socialization campaign activities, including conferences and debates on community integration, recreational activities, sports events and concerts.
The project will run until August 2015 and IOM is urgently appealing for additional funds in order to maintain its momentum in the stabilization process.
For further information, please contact Anne Schaefer at IOM CAR, Tel: +23672187635, Email: aschaefer@io