Learning about peace through art

Published 23. Sep 2016
In Tehran, 250 Afghan children took part in 'Peace Education Through Art', a workshop providing psychosocial support and art education to displaced children.

The workshop is part of an NRC-funded project on education. It was implemented by CreArt, a Spanish NGO specializing in art for peace education, with the help from 18 Afghan youth trainers. The beautiful artwork was showcased in a closing exhibition, including presentations by local trainers on some of the art pieces, created by themselves and by the children.

Read caption Afghan Omid Ebrahimi is 7 years old. Photo: Afsaneh Moghayeri

“The community expressed a strong desire to use such initiatives to increase self-esteem, learn about effective communication, discuss protection concerns and bring about peace and social cohesion,” says Olivier Vandecasteele, NRC’s Country Director in Iran. He claims it is important humanitarian actors move towards building communities that become more resilient, and less aid dependent.

The Norwegian Ambassador, Aud Lise Norheim, visited the exhibition and expressed gratitude for the Norwegian Government’s part in this initiative. “Instead of you thanking us for being here, I would like to thank you for the great work you have done. All of this will stay with me forever,” she said. The Norwegian Ambassador also highlighted the power of art in stimulating the potentials in children.“The work that we see is so emotional, and it is so good to see this level of creativity.”

A recent decree, by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, allows all refugee children– regardless of documentation status – to attend school. This development calls for an increased level of strategic interventions by all stakeholders in the field of education. Besides increasing classroom capacities and strengthening the quality of education itself, extra-curricular activities are also important to provoke the inner potentials of displaced children.