AMUDA, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – An art center for children in the Syrian northeastern Kurdish town of Amuda stated on Wednesday that the next generation of children in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] will live free from extremism and violence despite their current life amid violent conflict.
In an exclusive interview with Kurdistan24, Aram Ahmad, the founder and manager of Nahawand Center for Developing Children's Talents, said that about 350 children and their parents are enjoying the art and peaceful ideas taught in the center.
"Seeing an armed person is intimidating while seeing a musician holding an instrument is uplifting," Ahmad pointed out that this idea is spread extensively among people in Rojava who are tired of the war.
“I highly respect fighters who are protecting civilians, because our chance to learn art would be taken away without them. But children, already exposed to war, need to learn and practice peace and coexistence,” Ahmad said.
In the small city of Amuda, Ahmad set up the Nahawand Centre last year. In the center, boys and girls between the ages of five and seventeen learn music, drama, painting, choreography, chess, and foreign languages.
“People here are trying to live with the violence surrounding them on a daily basis. At schools, mostly theoretical or scientific courses are taught. Our center offers children what they need and lack: beauty, hope and peace,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad added that the courses and lessons in the center are free of charge and trainers are all his friends who have worked several months as volunteers. Recently, he received a small donation by his friends in Europe which enabled him to compensate a part of the teacher's hard work.
In a previous interview with Kurdistan24, Ahmad talked in detail about teaching foreign languages and drama and how this process has positive effects on children. He explained that learning social concepts in such practical ways enables children to be more accepting of diversity in terms of ethnicity or religion.
In 2004, Amuda and the Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli witnessed a Kurdish uprising against Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad when crowds toppled a statue of the former president, Hafez al-Assad, in Amuda's central square. There is now a new statue in the square — a woman carrying the torch of liberty and the square is re-named Free Woman Square.
Editing by Ava Homa