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African Community Learning Program Celebrates Second Annual Africa Celebration

Second Annual Africa Celebration, an afternoon of laughter, reflection, and good food.

African Community Learning Program held its second annual Africa Celebration on Sunday, December 16, 2018 from 2-4pm at the Lucien E. Blackwell Library. Attendees savored a variety of African dishes, enjoyed one another’s company, and the music of Senegalese singer Baaba Maal. The event was a day to remember.

Students, team members, friends, and family together that afternoon learned more about one another, reflected on a successful fall 2018 semester while enjoying delicious foods from many African cultures. Founder and president Aminata Sy and intern Daniel Akuma hosted the celebration.

African Community Learning Program students, parents, and volunteers gather at the Africa Celebration.

“It has been a joy to watch our students as well as our volunteers blossom through their participation with African Community Learning Program,” said founder and president Aminata Sy. Since starting in the fall of 2017, we have supported students go from non-English speakers to English speakers and readers, go from being very shy to presenting to our class, go from having minimal knowledge about Africa and its people to understanding nuances of African cultures, geography, and accomplishments of the continent’s people.

From left to right Abdoul Wane, Raimat's mother, Aminata Sy, and Raimat's father at the Africa Celebration.

Akuma, who has volunteered with African Community Learning Program since the organization’s launch, echoed Sy’s sentiment.

“This program is the highlight of my week, it means being part of a community. It means being able to see people who are where you once were, and are navigating a new country and a new educational system,” said Akuma. “Meeting students at the point of their needs, and coming out to be with them every Wednesday, it means a lot to me. Today is a reflection of how much work was put in this semester.”

Daniel Akuma presents about his day in Nigeria during the Africa Celebration.

Sy and Akuma welcomed attendees to the event and were followed by the presentation of student Ibra.

“I am Africa, Africa is me.” Ibra began reciting African Community Learning Program’s chant “Awareness.” He continued, “I have the intelligence, the courage, and the power to change the world.”

Ibra shares with Blackwell Librarian Jessica Walker what he learned about the book Anna Hisbuscus' Song using African Community Learning Program group project.

Indeed, the students demonstrated their intelligence and courage through their presentations under the themes “My Name” and “Africa is a Continent.” African Community Learning Program’s curriculum focused on these two themes during the fall 2018 semester; enriched with a combination of books and articles read, film and short clips watched, as well as stories and poems written by students, volunteers, and the founder. Students presented on their names, from poems to touching personal stories. Dieynaba shared one such story.

“I have my grandmother’s name,” she said.” My name is important because it is a big name in my family. I love my name because it is my grandmother’s name.”

Raimat, another student, shared her poem focusing on defining the first letters of her name.

“R” is for righteous, you know when you’re right,” she started. “T” is for tasteful, the way you communicate.”

Raimat recites her poem about her name at the Africa Celebration.

Dahirou talked about the book My Name Is Sangoel and what he learned from the reading while Ibra recounted the story of Anna Hibiscus’ Song. Dahirou also presented on achievements of Nigerian-American artist Walé Oyéjidé and Uganda chess champion Phiona Mutesi.

African Community Learning Program’s curriculum includes uplifting stories that allow students to recognize that Africa is a beautiful and diverse continent, where very talented and gifted people originate.They learn to believe in themselves as natives of African countries or people of African descent, and to appreciate their heritage. The Africa Celebration showcased students’ progress, most whom attend public schools in West Philadelphia. When asked to rate the celebration from 1 to 5, Abass, a student, said, “I give it a 5. It was fun!”

Attendees enjoy various Africa dishes at the Africa Celebration.

Sy and Akuma wrapped up the evening honoring students, volunteers, and supporters with certificates for their great work during the fall semester of 2018. African Community Learning Program secretary’s Similoluwa Ayinde, surprised Sy and the vice president, Abdoul Wane, with special certificates recognizing their untiring efforts and important contribution in the community through Africa Community Learning Program and beyond.

Dahirou presents about his day in Philadelphia on a typical Sunday.

The Africa Celebration allowed attendees to celebrate not only the African continent and diaspora, but also served as a testament to the incredible work African Community Learning Program has been doing. These achievements are visible in its students’ efforts, leaders and volunteers’ commitment as well as the unity within the organization’s community. This unity prides participants to teach and to believe,“We are Africa, Africa is us. We are the world, the world is us.

Abass shares a laugh while presenting about his name during the Africa Celebration.

Wilnaphekie Taloute is a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Sociology and Africana Studies and serves as the assistant secretary of African Community Learning Program.

To support African Community Learning Program visit:

YouTube : African Community Learning Program

Twitter @aminata2016

Email Aminata Sy at


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