Amanar Inspires Refugee Children Through Astronomy
20 June 2019
School at the Sahrawi refuggee camps near, Tindouf, Algeria. Credit: ACAPS.
As 20 June 2019 marks United Nations World Refugee Day, the IAU100 Special Project “Amanar: under the same sky” is using astronomy as a tool to inspire children from the Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, and the Canary Islands, Spain. The initiative uses astronomy as an educative tool and cultural bridge between children from these two communities to foster a sense of global citizenship and mutual understanding.
In October 2019, the project will conduct outreach activities and teacher workshops in schools at the refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, with the aim of promoting quality science education. Before that, in July-August 2019, the project will organise activities for the saharawi children spending the summer with host families in 3 of the Canary Islands (Spain) under the Holidays in Peace programme. The summer activities will consist in astronomical educational activities, star parties and visits to the professional astronomical observatories in the islands of Tenerife and La Palma. This project intends to enable long-term sustainability of the summer program for the children of both communities and funding is already ensured for the next three years thanks to a grant from the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development and donations from other astronomical institutions.
On the long term, the Amanar project aims at raising awareness on the long-standing situation and harsh conditions of the Sahrawi refugees. It will also allow participants to share their experiences with a wider audience via an interactive documentary.
Amanar is a project by GalileoMobile in collaboration with the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Canarian Association of Friendship with the Sahrawi People (ACAPS). GalileoMobile is a non-profit, itinerant, science education initiative that brings modern astronomy closer to young people around the world, with emphasis in regions that have little access to other outreach actions. The initiative was created in late 2008 inspired by the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009).
The project Amanar is one of 22 IAU100 Special Projects that has been financially supported with micro-grants to implement their astronomy initiatives under one or more of the IAU100 Themes.
For more information please check the project’s website.
Sandra Benítez Herrera
Jorge Rivero González