The Memory Project portraits that the OHHS Drawing and Printmaking students created earlier this year were successfully delivered to the children and teens in Cameroon! This year, students at OHHS created 25 portraits for children in Cameroon.
“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 300 portraits for children in Madagascar, the Philippines, and Syrian refugees in Jordan, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, and the Rohingya in Rakhine. 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.
This year, students at OHHS created 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 made 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 people at The Memory Project wanted us to know that the children were so excited to receive the portraits and absolutely loved them! They fully understood that creating the portraits was a way to show them how much the students care about their well-being and their future. The following video of the delivery shows the children receiving their portraits together at all the different locations that were involved.