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Overcoming Trauma in Niger's Classrooms

Poverty and a lack of classrooms and teachers prevent many local children from receiving an education. The IRC and the European Commission’s Humanitarian and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is supporting 16 classrooms in Tabareybarey refugee camp and 8 classrooms in Mangaize refugee camp – both in Niger. This work is supported as part of the EU Children of Peace initiative.

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Video Transcript

Idrissa: My name is Idrissa. I am 15 years old. I was at school in Mali. After the crisis I left Mali to continue going to school here. Now school is better than it was before.

Ismael Souleymane: The Malian crisis, which struck in January 2012, caused thousands of women, children and elderly people to flee to Niger. The IRC began a Children Protection and Development programme. This had two main objectives: to provide education and survival support. In education IRC helps to build the capacity of teachers and trains them in creating healing classrooms. So that they can support children who have been affected by trauma.

Zakou Assoumane: The situation of these students continues to improve with the support of our partner (IRC). Because at first the teachers here really had some challenges. This is because these children have been affected by trauma. War causes trauma for children. The support we provide is to help the teachers to build the skills they need to teach these children.

Biba: My name is Biba, I came to Mangaize camp in 2012. I go to the school here. Before I couldn’t understand anything. Now I understand everything! I like reading and writing to help people, children and grandparents.

Allassane Seyban: We know that these children are in difficulty. I am very proud to help someone who is difficulty. You really need to have the vocation, to teach children who are struggling.

Idrissa: Education is important for me because everything important that happens in the world is done by people who have been educated.

Zakou Assoumane: The first educators of these children are their parents. So we cannot education the children without involving their parents. Because school is just a reproduction of society, we must make sure that the values of society are reinforced in the minds of the children in school. That’s why we make sure to involve the parents in the education of their children.

Abdoulaye Abdourhamane: We are doing very well, the school has given us some solace. It has kept the children out of trouble, and helped them to forget what they saw in Mali. This has made us very happy. The IRC has really helped us by enabling the children to go to school.

Ismael Souleymane: It is very important to promote education in the camp, so that the children can build confidence in themselves. Without confidence they will not be able to succeed in their future lives.

Idrissa: I would like to become a teacher to help my younger brothers. I love football. I want to be a great player, like Ronaldinho!

Title: In 2012, violent clashes in Mali forced thousands of people to flee their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. Over 50,000 people sought refuge in Niger. Further violence in north-eastern Nigeria over the past year has forced even more refugees into Niger’s over stretched education system.