Close to 5000 children at the Mpoko refugee camp in the Central African Republic can have access to education in an institution constructed by UNICEF.
“We want to teach these children how to write, read and count. Once they leave this refugee camp they can further their studies in other schools,” Chancelin Willy-Bono, principal of the Mpoko refugees camp school said.
The school has also been drilling children on the importance of peace and the need to resist recruitment attempts from armed groups.
The children feel traumatised each time they see someone who died after being shot…
“The children feel traumatised each time they see someone who died after being shot. They feel upset moving from their respective neighbourhoods to the refugee camp. It is our role as teachers to help them find inward peace,” one of the teachers who wants to be identified as Lydie said.
The children have been taught to memorise verses like “war is not good, peace is the best thing for a country.”
Some of the teachers at the camp who received UNICEF training are victims of the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic. “My house was completely burned in the Bazanga district. That is how I found myself on this side,” one of the teachers said.
The Mpoko refugees camp hosts citizens who have been displaced due to fighting between the Selekas and the anti-Balaka.
Close to a million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the crisis in the diamond and gold rich country which gained independence from France in 1960.