Refugee girls at Global Village Project
Decatur, Georgia, USA
Girls at The Village School Project exchanged their Freedom Quilt with year 9 students at The British School in New Delhi, India.
“This January, I approached GVP STEAM Coordinator Danielle Ereddia about Global Village Project (GVP) girls participating in the Global Art Project for Peace exchange. Global Village Project is a nonprofit school for refugee girls, located in Decatur, Georgia. This year GVP is home to 32 girls from 14 different countries and speaking 17 languages. Students’ home countries include but are not limited to Afghanistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Iran, Malaysia, Burma and Eritrea. I thought, ‘Who better to promote peace than refugee girls, many of whom have known war firsthand?
“GVP staff were quick to jump on board. The arts play a major role in the GVP curriculum, a key tool in overcoming language barriers and cultural challenges. To introduce the project, we brought in my friend Charmaine Minniefield, acclaimed artist and social activist, who lives and works in both Atlanta and Gambia. ‘The girls were completely captivated with Charmaine and so thrilled to meet her’, said Danielle. ‘And they couldn’t wait to get started.’
“Using acrylic paint, GVP students produced a 3 x 5 ft size canvas, a highly colorful painted quilt of 25 seamlessly connected individual art pieces. The young artists called their creation, Freedom Quilt. It’s currently displayed in the school‘s hallway and delightfully captures the exuberance and happy energy of GVP. You cannot look at it without feeling uplifted. Each piece is unique, but together, they beautifully weave a whimsical and wonderful quilt of joy.
“Recently, the girls learned the identity of their exchange partner. It’s a 9th grade class of students at The British School in New Delhi, India. The painting will soon be shipped off along with handwritten notes, photos, and a selection of music from the GVP girls who created it. Then, they’ll await the art piece the Indian students have created for them.
“Who knows where this connection will lead. Perhaps pen pals and new friendships will emerge. At the very least, every GVP artist will have played a part in heart-filled visions of harmony and peace. And that’s a connection worth celebrating.” -Bonnie O’Neill
Bonnie O’Neill is a member of the Board of Directors at Global Village Project and an art lover and peace-seeker.