Cultural Sustainability in Refugee Camps Rita L. Irwin with Philip Landon, World University Service of CanadaMaranguNjogu, Windle Trust KenyaWanjikuKhamasi, Moi University, KenyaSamson Nashon, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Education fosters human development, providing learning opportunities and hope to future generations.
The camps need more schools, more resources and most importantly, more trained teachers to deliver the quality education children crave and are entitled to.
The UNHCR manages refugees’ welfare in numerous camps around the world with upwards of 12 million people living in these camps.
Case Study: Creating a DadaabTeacher Education Program
The Refugee Situation in Dadaab, Kenya Dadaab refugee camps were established in 1991 when Somalis fled the civil war in their country. As of May 20th, 2009, Dadaab was home to 272,800 refugees, the vast majority of whom are Somali.
Education in Dadaab Refugee Camps
While 38,000 primary aged children and 3,000 secondary students attend school, there are many children/adolescents living in the camps (half of the population is below age 20) that cannot be accommodated in either primary or secondary schools.
It is important to note that only “examinable” subjects are taught in the camps. Other areas such as cultural studies, social issues, and arts education are poorly represented due to lack of resources and experienced teachers.
The programneeds tobe an inter-generational development project that enables Somali teachers to provide transformational leadershipforthe future.
As Somalis live outside their homeland, cultural traditions are gradually being lost. These traditions involve all forms of the arts: dance, music, visual arts, drama, poetry, literature, etc.
The question guiding this case study is:How might a teacher education program create a strong sense of cultural sustainability for the refugee community?
A secondary question is: How might the global arts education community assist refugees in sustaining and adapting their cultures?
What are some Possible Interventions for Teacher Education? A teacher education program in Dadaab refugee camps needs to be multi-faceted and should include a number of strategic areas for intervention.
1. Teaching Diploma Program
2. Curriculum Development and Support
3. Academic Leadership Support
4. Secondmentof Support Teachers
5. Material support to refugee schools
6. Engagement of Canadians
7. Cross-cutting themes
What are some Possible Interventions for Cultural Sustainability?
The secondary question is: How might the global arts education community assist refugees in sustaining and adapting their cultures?
I invite you to consider how our countries, governments, arts and culture organizations, and foundations could help the more than 12 million refugees world wide to experience the arts, to appreciate the need for the arts in education, and how we could assist them in this effort.