French-language cultural and educational activities for communities
April 29, 2020
Francophones and francophiles are showing a lot of resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Invaluable programs and activities are emerging to inspire and assist the community.
The Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2 (CSCN) of northeastern Alberta has published the first edition of its guide for parents while classes are suspended.
Many new activities will be added to the CSCN guide in the coming weeks. “The overall purpose of the guide,” said CSCN superintendent Robert Lessard, “is to make sure students aren’t behind in their studies when they return to school in the fall.”
The French Canadian Society of Prince Albert(SCFPA) regularly posts French-language activities on social media.
In collaboration with the Language Portal of Canada, it offers games for members to test their knowledge of French. “If we’ve learned one thing from the COVID-19 crisis,” said SCFPA executive director Christain Fure, “it’s that we francophones need live in solidarity, not solitude.”
French-language organizations in Winnipeg have also set up online programs to help replace get-togethers that have had to be cancelled.
One example is the online party de cuisine put on by Festival du Voyageur, a Facebook page where artists and others can share song and dance videos and interact.
A kitchen/cooking competition was held in Caraquet to get families doing things together.
Mélanie Chiasson, a teacher at Caraquet’s Polyvalente Louis-Mailloux, joined forces with the owners of Motel & Camping Colibri for the contest, which was aimed at building bridges and giving families an enjoyable experience they could share. Finalists were selected via Facebook on April 4.
Down the road in Petit Rocher, singer-songwriter Danny Boudreau, a native of the nearby village of Pointe-Verte, is singing “On va s’en sortir.” He serves up a song every day from his songbook via his Facebook page.
Ottawa’s National Arts Centre has a new way of highlighting the arts online with its #CanadaPerforms series.
Concerts streamed online have turned the spotlight on Canadian artists. Facebook Canada and the National Arts Centre launched the program to provide paid work to artists whose regular income has been affected by social distancing through a $700,000 endowment that hosts performances on an almost daily basis.
Nova Scotia cultural associations such as Société Acadienne de Clare, Société Saint-Pierre, and Fédération culturelle acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (FéCANE) are taking advantage of social media to livestream shows and arts workshops to strengthen ties among francophone individuals and organizations.
Social distancing is giving new impetus to the French language in Louisiana.
The famous Festival International de Louisiane, held annually in Lafayette at the end of April for the past 34 years, was replaced with an amazing virtual experience this year from April 24th to 26th. Check out the replay of the Festival last day here.
Lockdowns required to slow the spread of COVID-19 are giving rise to creative social media projects that not only help people stay in touch with French-speaking loved ones, but provide teaching materials and resources for people in self-isolation. French classes are now offered on Instagram Live by a teacher at Beau Chene High School in Arnaudville. Many Louisianans are taking advantage of the isolation to learn or relearn Cajun French. While over a million Louisianans spoke French in 1970, only 100,000 speak it today.
In the Americas
Centre de la francophonie des Amériques has a live series entitled Concerts francophones 100 % Franco-Amérique—the latest of which featured singer-songwriter Alexandre Belliard in D’une Amérique à l’autre. Belliard passionately and imaginatively shared the works he created for Légendes d’un peuple, a project of his based on the francophone culture and heritage of the Americas.