Teacher lessens violent trauma through education
Kathleen Madu parlays a past of violent trauma in her native Nigeria in West Africa, and teaching the hallmarks of peace to lessen the trauma of school children seared by escalating school shootings in America.
Kathleen Madu parlays a past of violent trauma in her native Nigeria in West Africa, and teaching the hallmarks of peace to lessen the trauma of school children seared by escalating school shootings in America. Photo courtesy IWPG
Nigerian-born educator lessens trauma suffered by students seared by school shootings through personal experience, teaching about peace
CARSON (MNS) — Kathleen Madu recalls growing up in Nigeria during the trauma of intense tribal religious persecution. Currently, a student at California State University, Long Beach, the Nigerian-American remembers the day war erupted in her hometown, replaying the upheaval in her mind over and over again.
“We walked [outside] and fire was everywhere,” she recalls. “It was chaotic and we tried to save everyone as much as possible. Our driver even got shot in the leg.”
Madu was only five years old at the time, but she remembers the mayhem vividly — the sight of dead bodies, fleeing for her life, and returning to see her hometown burned to rubble.
When her mom appealed for asylum in the U.S., she set her hopes for a more peaceful life. However, after residing in Los Angeles for several years, she realized, despite living in a country of proclaimed tolerance, she still must watch her back everywhere she goes.
The irony of Madu’s experience in America after escaping tyranny in Nigeria is that throughout the past four years working as a teacher’s assistant, and pursuing a master’s degree in education, she has had two harrowing encounters with an active shooter on campus.
“I didn’t come to America to be scared I’m going to get shot, but it’s gotten to the point where I have to protect others from getting shot,” Madu said.
To placate her fears, Madu has found solace through teaching, specifically teaching about peace. “Interacting with the children and seeing their childlike hearts shows me that there is goodness and that has helped me to heal my war memories. Sometimes I feel like [the children] are teaching me.”
Madu works with International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), an NGO with a mission to gather the hearts of 3.7 billion women worldwide for peace building. IWPG initiatives include working to implement the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) and providing peace education programs to local schools and communities.
IWPG’s peace education provides a practical solution to help resolve issues of violence. Its curriculum trains educators and students on the value of lives and tolerance for all.
Madu’s story was one of many shared at IWPG’s recent event in Carson, Calif. The event drew over 3,000 attendees to further celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the DPCW and the progress of its implementation across North, Central, and South America.
“This work of peace that we are doing right now [is being assisted] by a lot of political leaders,” Madu said. “And it’s only a matter of time before [DPCW] gets passed by the UN into international law. I hope this will provide many other young people the chance to heal as teachers and students of peace education.”
Metropolis News Service.