A boy at the Tyabala Centre during his lessons. Photo Credit: © UNICEF 2016 / Mohamed Saidou Diallo

Art and Education break the cycle of poverty

The original plan was to build together a theatrical art company for performances, “but we decided to make an association, given the situation of children around us. Our basic aim is to recruit street children, for learning their trades.”, said Mr Mohamed Momo Sylla, Director of Tyabala Centre, associated with the Dubréka’s Academy of percussion.

Tyabala, established in 2009, is a rehabilitation center and part of Guinea’s Higher Institute of Arts. ‘Tyabala’ is a basin turned upside down used in the Guerzé tradition as a musical instrument during major traditional ceremonies: birth, baptism, marriage, etc. The Tyabala is like a messenger. When one puts his hands on a Tyabala he feels peaceful. The sounds it emits appeals to everyone regardless of ethnicity, race, and religion. That is why this name was chosen for the socio-professional centre.

Children of Tyabala center Taouyah open learning djembe. Photo Credit: © UNICEF 2016 / Mohamed Saidou Diallo

The centre hosts street children who have never known education. "Begging is passed from generation to generation, and our goal is to ensure that it is not passed on to these children and they have a chance to change their path." Among others, the centre has received four street children for their professional training. Beyond the practice of music, children learn also carpentry, mechanics, sewing and more with masters.

Every month, they provide a report on the child's learning for their parents. The founders are trying to share their experience with the little ones. They are now in charge of 20 children in difficult circumstances, learning literacy in addition the practical skills.

Partners such as Sylvain Leroux, an American flutist, come give the children music lessons; while other artists bring their volunteer support with passion. Master Mamady Mansaré teaches children to make flutes, xylophones, and other instruments they use in their activities.

Tyabala managed to establish a partnership with a medical centre that provides their care and medicines. Since 2010, during the Christmas season, they organize an annual event called " Aid to Underprivileged Children. They have already made thirty shows. “We organize painting competitions and other and offer gifts to the winners,” says founder Mr. Momo Sylla, "now these children can read and write.”

Momo Sylla thanked all those who understood them as UNICEF and invites everyone to work for the welfare of children. He said with conviction, "You know, child is like an egg. either he or she becomes either an omelet or a chick that will become a chicken..."

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