REFUGEES ON THE MOVE IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: A PROMISING FIRST STEP

Friday 12 April 2013
An open dance workshop © Boniface Watanga
An open dance workshop © Boniface Watanga
A hip hop dance class © Boniface Watanga
A hip hop dance class © Boniface Watanga
Kids try their luck at juggling © Boniface Watanga
Kids try their luck at juggling © Boniface Watanga
Good health practices are taught © Boniface Watanga
Good health practices are taught © Boniface Watanga
A spelling bee is held in a school of the Batalimo camp © Boniface Watanga
A spelling bee is held in a school of the Batalimo camp © Boniface Watanga
A contemporary dance class © Boniface Watanga
A contemporary dance class © Boniface Watanga
An outdoor dance class © Boniface Watanga
An outdoor dance class © Boniface Watanga
Group photo © Boniface Watanga
Group photo © Boniface Watanga
Boniface Watanga talking to refugees © Boniface Watanga
Boniface Watanga talking to refugees © Boniface Watanga
A hip hop class © Boniface Watanga
A hip hop class © Boniface Watanga
A clown performs in front of the children of the Batalimo refugee school © Boniface Watanga
A clown performs in front of the children of the Batalimo refugee school © Boniface Watanga
The juggling workshop continues © Boniface Watanga
The juggling workshop continues © Boniface Watanga
A workshop attracts both young and old © Boniface Watanga
A workshop attracts both young and old © Boniface Watanga
Percussionists accompany the dancers © Boniface Watanga
Percussionists accompany the dancers © Boniface Watanga
© Boniface Watanga
© Boniface Watanga
The audience is entranced © Boniface Watanga
The audience is entranced © Boniface Watanga
© Boniface Watanga
© Boniface Watanga

The first workshops of the Central African chapter of AAD’s “Refugees on the Move” program have concluded with resounding success, bringing dance to the Congolese refugee camps in the country. Led by the choreographer Boniface Watanga, a native of the Central African Republic, the workshops continued without interruption or difficulty despite the recent political troubles in the country following the coup d’état.

 

Built on the belief that dance can serve as a tool of reprieve as well as social and cultural mediation within refugee camps, the first session was on the basic steps of traditional, hip hop and contemporary dance. Once these techniques were learned, the refugees progressed to the following two parts of the dance program, which will focus on creating a performance that, conditions willing, may be presented in Bangui on June 20, during International Refugee Day. These dance gatherings have also allowed the populations of the refugee camps to intermingle with the locals and pass on good health practices to both.

 

Furthermore, cultural and artistic activities were also held in the schools within the Batalimo camps. Clowns, spelling and math bees – all were included in the program, as well as information campaigns on health and dance as a means of communications between children. Traditional Congolese tales, translated to French for this occasion, were also told to children to familiarize them and teach them the language.

 

With around 100 regular participants in the dance workshops and a further 3,000-plus impacted, the first phase of “Refugees on the Move” in the Central African Republic was an undoubted success. This provides yet further motivation to implement the program in AAD’s 10 target countries, with Tanzania and Burundi on the list for this year.