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Voices of Summer School volunteers

We received permission from Mami, one of the speakers at the ``I volunteered! Summer school report session in Iraq'' on September 27th, so I would like to introduce her Facebook post!

*The video shows Mami teaching the children the "Frog Jumping" technique for the "Frog Song" do-re-mi dance.


For 10 days during summer vacation, I volunteered at a children's summer school in Kurdistan, Iraq.

What got me started was meeting an organization called Peace Cell Project at a workshop held at the school I worked at.This is an organization that carries out support activities in Iraq under the slogan, "Solving conflicts through theater and picture books."

When I first heard this concept,“Is it really possible to do something like that?” “What kind of approach is being taken?”I was very interested in it.

I can't imagine it at all! I have to go for this! !

However, I had a strong image of the Iraq War and ISIS, and even though I looked it up in Japanese, I still had a hard time understanding the local life, so I was quite nervous before I left.

What kind of place was Iraq?

It was a place where people lived.There is delicious food and a bazaar.A place where people work, children play, and families live.I didn't even know that until I went there.

There aren't many people because it's too hot during the day.At night, more and more people come out onto the street. We played soccer in the park and talked while eating ice cream.

The people are very friendly and will offer you water and ask you to take pictures with them as you walk.

There was a monument of "I ♡Dohok" in the park.For some reason, this really shocked me.The people who live there are naturally proud of and love their land.

It was a really nice city.

At the summer school, we held three courses that are difficult to supplement in regular schools: music, physical education (karate), and story telling. In each class, you will use your body and imagination to express yourself. We then look at each other's expressions, encourage each other, and build each other up.

The ability of all the instructors to involve the children is amazing! ! The instructors, interpreters, and volunteers all worked together and moved their bodies a lot and laughed a lot.

And a presentation on the final day! !The children absorbed knowledge like sponges and came to class with sparkling eyes. Their appearance was no different from the children I usually interact with.

Such wonderful children,If we make a mistake, we will become embroiled in war and create new hatred.

The people I met were truly wonderful, kind, and intelligent people, and I couldn't believe the history of this place, and I was horrified by the fine line between them. Outside the city, 700,000 people live in camps in heat that approaches 50 degrees Celsius. In the city of Mosul, an hour and a half away by car, ISIS clearance operations are still ongoing.

Mr. Takato, representative of the Peace Cell Project, told us the following story.The violence of wars and conflicts creates people who can never be forgiven.If we don't think about how to live side by side with someone we can never forgive, conflicts will never go away.How can we overcome this difficult communication process? I have to seriously think about this.

Isn't there a possibility of expression, of theater? It's been 10 days since I felt this from the bottom of my heart. I once again realized the meaning of my work in expressive education.

Ah, even if I try to write it out, it doesn't come together at all,I haven't put even 10% of what I felt into it! !

Divide into several timesThings I've learned, people I can't forget,I'm going to continue writing down my memories! !

And,A debriefing session will be held regarding this volunteer next Wednesday.I will also participate.

Although I was there for only 10 days, the members of the Peace Cell Project are working hard every day to make this activity take root in Iraq. I would like everyone to hear how powerful it is, how amazing its ideas are, and how exciting it is!

Click here for the organization's homepage.

It will also be streamed online and can be viewed for free (donations are also accepted!!), so we would be happy if you could apply.

Thank you in advance! !

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