[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3tCNbtpDiQ[/youtube]“Yole” means come together. And Yole!Africa US is helping students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and students at UNC come together to create positive change through cultural exchange.

Students involved in Yole!Africa US work with Congolese youth to create art including music, choreography and videos.

“It really made everything more real and connected.  Rather than us just sending money to the Congolese, it was us actually interacting with them and seeing the benefit,” said Lauren Gil ’16.

The organization was founded by UNC Music Professor Chérie Rivers Ndaliko, filmmaker and activist Petna Ndaliko and the students of Ndaliko’s fall ’12 First Year Seminar “Making and Marketing Music in the Digital Age.” It is based on the understanding that by building a cultural bridge, American and Congolese youth can bring awareness to critical global issues unfolding in Congo and contribute to sustainable peace in one of the world’s most conflicted regions.

Rivers Ndaliko says students want to get involved because “in many ways Yole!Africa US is an invitation to extend the idea of globally responsible citizenship to another part of the world where there’s so much going on that’s rich and that’s exciting and that’s also deeply troubling.”

Deborah Kiserow ’16 said her favorite part about the organization is the connections the students make. “It’s like bonding with a purpose, which is just incredible,” she said.

To find out more about Yole!Africa US and its sister organization in Congo, visit www.yoleafrica.org.

[Text and video by Beth Lawrence ’12]

 

 

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