Amanar is the latest project by GalileoMobile in collaboration with the Canary Association of Friendship with the Sahrawi People (ACAPS). It is conceived to inspire the Sahrawi community from the refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, through the wonders of our Universe. The project also intends to promote peace and mutual understanding using Astronomy, fostering a sense of global citizenship “under the same sky”.
Specifically, we want to support the youth and teachers from local schools by organizing hands-on activities and donating educational materials and telescopes. We hope these activities will contribute to enhance the resilience and engagement in the community of the youngsters and help them to develop scientific skills which may be useful for their future.
On the long term, we hope to raise awareness on the harsh conditions of the Sahrawi refugees, that have been in refugee situation for more than 40 years. The refugee camps are located at the Hamada, sometimes described as “the desert of the desert”. Temperatures there are always very high, but in summer can be unbearable.
That is why thousands of children between 8 and 12 years-old spend the summer in Spain to escape the tough environment of the camps for a few months. Through the program “Holidays in Peace”, that covers the expenses and assists with the logistics, these children can have a fun and fresh summer together with Spanish host families.
The first phase of the Amanar project starts this Saturday and continues for two more weeks, with astronomy outreach activities and visits to professional observatories for the children staying in the Canary Islands. The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), one of the sponsors of the project, is opening its facilities so the children can access one of the most advanced observatories in the world and have a magical night looking at the stars, the moon and the planets through a telescope.
The team for the Canary Island activities is already in the field, preparing all the materials and very excited about Amanar finally happen!
The second phase of the project will be in October when a team of astrophysicists, science communicators and filmmakers will travel to the refugee camps to visit 6 primary and secondary schools as well as a centre for the youth and for women. Special attention will be given to teachers for whom full-day workshop about Science Education using Astronomy will be organized.
The project is primarily funded by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) through its Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and the IAU100 program, within which it has been selected as Special Project.
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