Promoting mass counter trafficking in persons awareness using poetry and other artistic expressions amongst the youth in Nairobi

By Bernard Muhia, http://www.bernardmuhia.com/.

Click to view bernardmuhia's profileThrough Fern Poetry, we are running an awareness creating campaign in high schools on the topic of human trafficking. So far, we have partnered with KARDS Africa and the Braeburn School in this effort and are reaching students through poetry and also inviting them to submit essays and poems on human trafficking. 

The victims of human trafficking are almost always unknowing subjects who are below the legal age and find it hard to defend their rights. It is also the ignorance of the parents who at times give out their children willingly to people they know who then take advantage of this trust to exploit and abuse these children through child labour or sexual advances. It is this age group that the project wants to reach and create awareness among.

Fern Enterprises was registered in 2008 to be a launching pad for an online magazine that would be publishing poems, articles, essays, plays and short stories from students in high school. But the difficulty of students accessing the internet while in school caused us to change our target to be poets who are out of school but still on the online platform. That’s how Fern Poetry was born which has now grown from a blog publishing poems and essays from youth writers to holding a monthly poetry competition with a cash prize.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing illegal trades in the world, ahead of guns and drugs. Kenya in particular has over the years become both a source market and transit point for human trafficking. It is with this in mind that Fern Enterprises embarked on a project to create awareness among the school-going population in five high schools of Nairobi in 2010. This project known as the Fern Poetry Project for High Schools  took cognizant of the fact that  very often the young adults are at the highest risk of human trafficking because of their age and naivety. This project will help them understand what human trafficking is and how to avoid becoming a victim and also how to help someone who is a victim or is potentially about to become a victim.

By taking the anti-human trafficking message to schools, students will become aware of this problem and learn ways of protecting themselves. In terms of evaluating how well the students have understood the message, a writing competition on the subject will be initiated to ensure that they internalize the message and then tell it in their own words. The writings gotten from the competition will then be posted online for other students across the country to read.

The students will write poems, essays and articles about human trafficking which is a way to evaluate their understanding of the vice after giving them information about human trafficking. This will be implemented as a competition where the winners will get a small cash prize.

Vision

Empowering artists through enabling them to exploit their full potential and realize their dreams.

Mission

“Promoting mass counter trafficking in persons awareness using poetry and art amongst the youth in Nairobi.”

Goal(s)

Holding poetry competitions aimed at inspiring poets to believe in themselves and in their abilities.

Promoting mass awareness against human trafficking through youthful writings, paintings, drawings and other forms of artistic expressions.

Celebrating and articulating creative writers and reporters by publishing their articles, poetry, essays, plays and short stories.

Objectives

  • Popularizing anti TIP poems through recitals and acting in targeted audiences.
  • Encouraging the submission of artistic expressions on the theme of trafficking with the aim of exhibiting them.
  • Holding competitions on story writing on the theme of human trafficking amongst the youth in schools and colleges.
  • Mass poetry competition in schools and colleges

Bernard Muhia is the director of The Fern Poetry Project Targeting High Schools  in Nairobi Kenya. Visit his site here for a gallery of poems http://www.bernardmuhia.com/.

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