Tasera a Darfurian child “I want peace and education”
By: Eman Eltigani
Nyala, South Darfur, May 2014-Recently, Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Representative in Sudan urged all parties who are involved in armed conflict in Darfur to “listen to the voice of the children” and work to provide a safe environment for them. UNICEF responded to the emergency crisis by airlifting 89 tons of life-saving supplies for populations affected by the conflict throughout Sudan including Darfur.
Over 100,000 internal displaced persons (IDPs) in Kalma Camp have been trying their best to survive and forget atrocities and vicious attacks that led to their displacement. Now the recent arrival of 18, 000 new IDPs has constrained resources and services. Of particular concern is the education of newly arriving children. In response to the current crisis, The Schools Coordinator in Kalma Camp, Abdalla Ahmed Hassan said that the teachers will not take their break as they have to respond to the needs of newly arriving students who missed school in their villages.
UNICEF and its partners are aware of the psychosocial situation of the children who recently became displaced and the need to make the school an attractive environment for them. The education supplies contain most of the materials needed for students to complete their academic year. Also included were some recreation kits which will provide the students with a safe space to play. The recreation kits include basketball net, football, colour pencils and skipping rope for all students to enjoy their times during the class breaks.
Tasera Adam is an 8- year old girl became displaced from Um Gona in March with her mother and five siblings. She fled her village during the day around 11:00am when armed men driving a pickup attacked them. Tasera said “we were in the school when we heard the sound of explosion outside the school. The whole class was crying and the teacher asked us to run home and we left behind our bags and textbooks. When I reached home I found my mum collecting whatever she could so that we could leave our village”. Sitting on the plastic mat at Alsalam School in Kalma Camp she is trying to listen to the teacher and start a new class.
“we were in the school when we heard the sound of explosion outside the school. The whole class was crying and the teacher asked us to run home and we left behind our bags and textbooks. When I reached home I found my mum collecting whatever she could so that we could leave our village”
Tesera is one of the 7,881 students who recently displaced from Higir, Um Gona and Dowani with their families seeking refuge in the camps around South Darfur. Tesera is still feeling uncomfortable to be in the Camp and has yet to make friends with the girls at the school. She was sitting next Halima Hassan, a girl who was displaced from Higir after experiencing similar atrocities. Tesera said that “we are not friends and I never met her before, but I do not mind sitting next to her in the class”. Both girls are confused about their situation and their unknown future, but they are sharing the same experience of displacement.
The Head of UNICEF Office in South Darfur, Agostino Munyiri; Director of the Education at the MOF, Omer Altom, and Head of Emergency Education, Abdalla Ahmed distributed textbooks and coloured pencils to new arriving students at Kalma including Tesera. Agostino pledged to the students that UNICEF and its partners will make sure that students will continue their education. He also pledged to put in place water sanitation, latrines and child friendly spaces for the newly arriving IDPs children in the camp.
All the 80 students at Tesera’s class have a dream of leaving Kalma one day and becoming productive members of their community. They requested Agostino to convey a message to all donors and other humanitarian organisations. They said that that they need clothes, shelter, food, but above all security.