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Memory Project Portraits are on their way to Cameroon!

Posted on: March 1, 2021 8:00 am

The 25 portraits created by Drawing and Printmaking students for children in Cameroon are on their way! Be on the lookout for a video of their delivery to the children later this spring.

“The Memory Project” is a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, and extreme poverty. Over the past four years, Drawing and Printmaking and NAHS students have created over 250 portraits for children in Madagascar, the Philippines, and Syrian refugees in Jordan, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, and the Rohingya in Rakhine.

This year, students at OHHS will be creating portraits for 25 portraits for children in Cameroon. Known as "Africa in miniature," the Republic of Cameroon is a country in Central Africa with vast geographical and cultural diversity, home to more than 24 million people. The official languages of Cameroon are English and French because the French and British governments colonized Cameroon after World War I, though the people speak more than 200 different languages and make up more than 200 ethnic groups. Life in Cameroon has been stifled by corruption, authoritarian rule, violent conflict between the English-speaking population and the government, and an insurgency by the jihadist group Boko Haram that has displaced over one million women, men, and children.

Still, the children hope for a safe present and a better future. The portraits the students make for the school children in Cameroon will remind each child of their own strength and beauty; it will show them that someone living far away is paying attention to the challenges that they face. The ultimate goal of the project is to create portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well-being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. The project also provides an opportunity for students to practice kindness and global awareness.