Assignment: Support escaped slaves in Mauritania
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Created March 13, 2012 by
Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery. The government denies it exists, but an estimated 10 % to 20 % of the population still lives in slavery, as detailed in CNN's special report.
It may seem like little can be done to end slavery in this West African country, but you can be part of the solution.
A school in Mauritania's capital teaches about 30 escaped slaves to sew, cook, braid hair and dye fabric. The hope is that these women and their children one day will open their own businesses.
Anti-Slavery International has set up a special donations page for the training center.
iReport is also collecting messages of hope to show the women that we support them in their fight for freedom. A selection of your video messages will be shown in the school. They may also appear on CNN.
Here's what to do:
1. Watch the example video to hear a Mauritanian man say "Nahana maakum," which means "We are with you" in Hassaniya, the language these women speak. It’s pronounced "nah-hah-nah / ma-ah-koom.”
2. Practice saying the phrase a couple of times. When you feel comfortable, begin recording your video. Start by saying the phrase: "Nahana maakum."
3. Tell us your name and where you live (city and country).
4. Share a message of your own. Say whatever you'd like to tell these women. You could tell them you support their fight for freedom or that you want all people in Mauritania to be free. Your message can be spoken in whatever language you choose, but preferably in English.
5. End by saying the phrase again: "Nahana maakum."
6. Keep your video to 30 seconds or less.
Click through the iReports below to watch a few examples. And check back for updates. We'll let you know when the women in Mauritania have received your messages of hope.