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News: USAID art exhibition highlights success of mental health programs for conflict-affected children

The art exhibition “Brighter Futures,” presented by the USAID at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Abeba, is scheduled to be open until 29 January, 2024 (Photo: USAID)

Addis Abeba – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled an art exhibition named “Brighter Futures” at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Abeba.

The exhibition featured artworks crafted by Ethiopian children who actively engaged in art therapy programs financed by USAID. These programs were designed to assist individuals affected by conflict in various regions of the country.

The initiation of the art therapy initiative took place in early 2022 within the framework of USAID’s READ II program. This program is dedicated to fostering education recovery, providing psychosocial support, and facilitating social-emotional learning in regions such as Amhara, Afar, and Tigray, which have been significantly affected by armed conflict.

According to the statement from USAID, the targeted beneficiaries of these programs were children residing in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, host communities, and schools directly impacted by the prevailing conflict.

During an eight-month span spanning from October 2022 to July 2023, approximately 11,000 fourth and fifth-grade students from 156 primary schools actively engaged in art competitions and lessons.

These instructional sessions were conducted by educators from Regional Colleges of Teacher Education, serving as a platform for children to process their experiences and enhance their self-esteem.

Present at the inauguration of the exhibition were Deputy Chief of Mission Gwendolyn Green from the U.S. Embassy, along with Ayelech Eshete state minister for Education and Alemitu Umud, state minister for Women and Social Affairs.

The exhibition titled ‘Brighter Futures’ is scheduled to run until 29 January, 2024, and is accessible to the public. AS

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