In celebration of World Humanitarian Day, The International Coalition for the Eradication of Hunger and Abuse, (ICEHA), in partnership with Dreams From The Slum launched ICEHA’s Healing Through Art program benefitting internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Kirikiri Town Lagos. The program uses art to help identify and assist displaced persons suffering posttraumatic stress disorders, pain, fear, anger, and violence. Participants were comprised of children, teenagers, youths , men and women mostly from the Northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, and Taraba states who were displaced as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking with ArewaDaily, Amina Mallam who escaped the Boko Haram kidnappers in Chibok, shared her memories of the event. “It was very scary, I was very afraid, and there was nothing I could do. For over a year now I don’t know the whereabouts of my parents, I had to escape for my life.” She said, sobbing
Another displaced person, Barrister Danjuma who cares for the IDPs, reflected on the Healing Through Art event, “we’ve not been shown love this way before, we’ve had series of visits in the past by various organizations but this one is different.” He thanked ICEHA and Dreams from the Slum Initiative for the extraordinary love and acceptance shown to them.
ICEHA’s International Arts Director, Mr. Kunle Adewale, stated the Healing Through Art summer camp will run for four weeks and will include economic empowerment for the women, educational support for the children and skills acquisitions for the men. He also hinted that a follow-up strategy is already in place to monitor progress and build trust.
Mr. Adewale added, “Healing Through Art is designed to help victims of violent attacks overcome their emotional wounds and stop the perpetuation of violence from one generation to the next. And unless the underlying psychological afflictions are addressed, the cycle of violence will not stop.”
Currently, the IDPs in Kirikiri Town live in makeshift apartments and uncompleted buildings. Mr. Isaac Success, Director, Dreams From The Slum Initiative lamented that easy access by well-spirited individuals and NGOs to provide relief and support have been unsuccessful due to government bureaucracies making it difficult to locate many of the displaced persons and reintegrate them back into society.
About Healing Through Art
Healing Through Art is designed to help victims of violent attacks overcome their emotional wounds and stop the perpetuation of violence from one generation to the next. Although the humanitarian community has banded together to provide food, shelter, education, and some possibility of hope for a stable future for these victims, such efforts cannot truly create sustainable change in peoples’ lives unless they also address the deep psychological traumas created by these events. Healing Through Art (HTA) not only provides art, music, and theater supplies to refugee camps and settlements, but provides in-depth training to the volunteers and mentors who execute the program on the ground. These mentors, including social activists and professional writers, painters, teachers, and other artists, are trained in the art techniques as well as methods for screening program participants (survivors) with the goal of identifying those who are in need of further psychological support.
ICEHA is an NGO registered in the United States and Nigeria. They currently assist vulnerable children in six African countries. They have been working in Nigeria since 2015 delivering food, medical treatment, clothing, school supplies, computers, teacher salaries, student scholarships, empowerment training and supplies, Healing Through Art, and other programs to help vulnerable children and their families. The majority of their work in Nigeria has focused on IDPs.
About Dreams From the Slum
Also known as Reachout 22 Project, this NGO works in three areas in Nigeria and one remote village in Ghana. The aim of the organization is to get children back into school and provide psychological support for youths and children with special needs.