Slideshow photos

 

African Youth Day

African Youth Day, a day celebrated throughout Africa to show what important role the youth is playing in the development of the country. A day to encourage and motivate the youths.
This year's theme: empowerment and unity.

Free Your Mind was invited to take part in the organization of the African Youth Day in Sierra Leone. We informed a lot of other organizations about this day, we marched through town to make people aware, we performed a small play on stage and sang a song. At the end we made sure that everybody got something to eat and drink. The day was a big success and even the minister was mentioning Free Your Mind in his speech.

This picture has been taken on the African Youth Day. It was at the end of the day and everybody was glad that it all went well. For more information about the African Youth Day, please click here.

 


Art class with the youth

The first official class given in the Free Your Mind centre, was the also first class of the FYM Module. The module consists of 13 different classes in which we work on the present, the past and the future life of the youths.

During the first class of the FYM Module the youths are introduced to the art, drama and music aspect of the FYM Module. From each subject a small assignment is given. On the picture youths are drawing one of their hands. This is followed by writing things about themselves, what they like, their family, etc. inside their hand and by a short presentation of what they have made. At the end of the first class everybody will know more about their classmates then when they first met.

 


Art class with youths in Kroo Bay

Free Your Mind has started the FYM Module classes in the Kroo Bay Community. Kroo Bay is a sprawling slum filled with rubbish in the capital, Freetown. It is the home of more than 6.000 people who are living in panbody houses made from wood, zinc plates and plastic. The community is lacking adequate access to sanitation and health services.

This picture has been taken during one of the first Free Your Mind class in Kroo Bay. It was not that easy to gather youth to take part in the class. Not because they did not want to be part, but because they were not really time conscious. Every time we wanted to give the class we had to search for the participants. When we did find them they were willing to take part and they even motivated others around them to join them.

In Kroo Bay we were able to use a small building with a leaking sinc roof. During the daytime a school, during the weekends a club. Sometimes we were sitting outside to have better light or more space. The benches were old and not so stable, but there was no comment on that at all.

 


One of the drama classes at the FYM centre

The FYM Module consists of 13 different classes in which we work on the present, the past and the future life of the youths. The module is working with art, drama and music assignments. On this picture you see one of the drama classes. The youths were expressing the way they were hiding for the rebels. Sometimes under the table, other times under the bed.

It was a heavy topic but remarkably the youths were laughing and joking during this classes. When we asked them about the reason for their smile they said that this was the best way of handling their memories. "We all know what we have been through, one more painful than the other, but we also know that we need to move on and this is the best way of doing that."

 


Drawing class with the kids in Kroo Bay

For the FYM Kids we have a special programme. Most of them do not know about the war, but for most of them it is also not easy to be young. They need to do a lot of household chores and sometimes even sell goods on the streets or help their parents to earn their school fees. For them it is good to be a kid once in a while.

Free Your Mind is coming to Kroo Bay on a scheduled basis. We take pencils, crayons and papers with us. Each week the kids will get a different subject to draw about and after which they will do a presentation. Most of the times they are trying to do this in English, sometimes or for some words they use Krio. It was amazing to see how fast they were less shy and how much their English had improved.

This picture was taken during one of those classes. Most of the time the kids are really focused on their drawing and they do not even look around. They are enjoying this short carefree time over and over again.

 


Who wants to be part of FYM?

When there is a visitor for Free your Mind we are always trying to take them to the kids classes as well. For most of the visitors this makes a big impression. They see Kroo Bay, one of the poorest communities in Freetown, they see how the people live there and then they see the kids. How powerful and eager they are to learn. Once they get a little less shy they start making conversation with the visitors.

Unfortunately there is not enough space for all the kids in Kroo Bay to take part in the Free Your Mind classes. For now we started with the kids who are joining the classes of Mr. Kamara. These are about 30 children. In the future we hope to increase this number.

On the picture we asked who was happy that Free Your Mind came to Kroo Bay. They were all cheering, laughing and saying "me...me...me".

 


This is a picture of Kroo Bay taken from a boat

Once a small fishing settlement, Kroo Bay Community is now a sprawling slum filled with rubbish in the capital, Freetown. It is the home of more than 6.000 people who are living in panbody houses made from wood, zinc plates and plastic. The community is lackign adequate access to sanitation and health services. In the rain season it is not unlikely that most of the houses are flooded and a lot of people are forced to live somewhere else at that time. People will continue living here because they do not have a choice. They say that it is a community for poor people and if they would have the chance to move they will leave right away.

In the Kroo Bay Community there have been, and still are, several projects to improve the environment and living situation. It is a strong community with a lot of adults, kids and youths. People with a voice and a story to tell. This picture has been taken from a boat and shows the waterside of the community.

 


One of the kids is doing a presentation about her drawing.

Free Your Mind is coming to Kroo Bay on a scheduled basis. We take pencils, crayons and papers with us. Each week the kids will get a different subject to draw about and after which they will do a presentation. At first most of the kids were very shy and were not able to do their presentation in English. Later on they got to know the 'white lady' (Sanne) who was always part of the class and they got more self-confidence. It was amazing to see how fast they were less shy and how much their English improved.

You can see on the picture that one of the kids is doing her presentation. She is holding her paper to the public and is speaking about the things she has drawn. At this day the topic was: your house and the people you live with.

 


The National Stadium in Freetown

Sierra Leone is a country on the Westside of Africa with the capital Freetown. This capital is a seaport on the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone gained its independence on 27 April 1961. Between 1991 and 2001 the country suffered from a bloody civil war. Half the land was a battlefield and almost a quarter of the population had to flee. A lot went to Freetown and most of them never left. At the moment more than one million people are living in Freetown. 

On the picture you see the National Stadium. The National Stadium of Sierra Leone is located in Freetown. It was build in 1980. The stadium is used mostly for football matches and athletic competitions. It is the largest stadium in Sierra Leone, with a capacity of 45.000 people. In and among the stadium a lot of social, cultural and religious events are organized. Under the stand small office spaces are created. Thanks to UNOY Free Your Mind can use a small place for the office and the centre.

The Free Your Mind centre is located in this stadium on the right side. We have a small office there and a place for the students to follow their classes.

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