ART CAMPS IN NAIROBI

Since I began my time in Nairobi I have been initiating, planning, training artists, and facilitating art camps in the informal settlements surrounding the city (Dandora, Mathare, and Kibera). This concept and structure of camp was first begun by BuildaBridge International, called Diaspora of Hope Art Camp. Now that these camps are becoming sustainable they are taking on various names and structures based on the community and what the arts groups decide will work best.  An arts camp in each slum is held annually- during the school holidays for the children. Kibera has their art camp in April, Dandora in August, and Mathare in November. I will contact a local arts group and if they agree to host a camp we will that work together on details of dates, location, schedule, number of children, arts classes, etc. Thus far, these camps have been well received from the community and there are unique and amazing stories that have come from each camp experience.

Mathare Art camp began through the Inspiration Center just after the post election violence in 2007. Children were taught about peace through art, as a response to the hostility that had brought so much devastation to that area. From this time on Mathare has held their camp, this upcoming November being the 5th year. And for two years now the Inspiration Center has raised enough money to send children to Mombasa for the camp! This was a dream come true for many children whose parent havent even gotten a chance to travel to the coast! Because Mathare was the first place where the art camp was held this is also the group that decides and sets the theme for the year. Thus far our themes have been: peace, hope, unity/equality, and this year, love.

Kibera Camp was the first arts camp that I was given responsibility to initiate. A camp like this had never happened in Kibera before and so I linked up with 2 arts groups from the community plus other organizations in and outside the slum in order for this camp to be a success. The groups involved included Center for Transforming Mission (CTM), Center of Empowerment and Life Transformation (Celtra), Goldmines Foundation, GoDown Arts Center, YCT, Slum Soccer, and Tumaini Church. Each organization played significant roles of giving us space to teach classes, donating artists, and supplying art materials for the classes. Even internationally, people gave to this cause and it was an amazing feeling to know that this camp was a product of the efforts of so many people working together towards a goal.  Our goal was to give children a creative learning experience that would encourage, discover, instruct creativity as well as teaching moral values that would build good character. During this 3 day camp we taught over 200 children and fed them breakfast and lunch for each day for free! AFter this camp the arts group, Celtra, became official because the artists saw the importance of what they had just taken part in and wanted to continue with the same kids throughout the year by holding art classes for children at CTM. This April, as we gear up for another exciting camp, Celtra will be the main arts group to host the camp!

Dandora Arts Group held their camp in August and this camp was successful in a different way… besides training artists, I did nothing! Ok, I helped, but the artists were so energized and excited about having a camp for the children in their community that they took over even over finding the location, buying supplies, making a schedule, etc. This was exciting and impressive to see the highly motivated youth take on a project with such enthusiasm. We had about 150 children at this camp, lasting for four days. Many kids who attended were oprhaned and living in the garbage dump, which is what Dandora is known for.

This year we are very excited about the upcoming camps- including me, local artists, organizations who believe in this initiative, and, of course, the kids!

If you have any urge that you would like to help, please read below to find a way that you can contribute- there are so many ways…

How to become involved!

Sponsor a child! This is a small and significant way to reach out to one child who will participate in the camp this year. Just 20 dollars can pay for supplies and food for all four days of camp. Once camp is complete you will receive a thank you card in the mail from the child you sponsored through camp!

Provide all food for one day of camp! Many children receive only one meal each day, which is oftentimes lacking the proper nutrients to sustain them through the day and help their bodies develop properly. Signs of malnourishment include large bellies and hair discoloration. For just $150.00 dollars you can provide porridge and a healthy lunch for all the children that will come to the camp for one day (around 200). With each lunch donation you will receive a special gift made by the children as a way to express our thanks.

Live like a Kiberian for a day! On the Saturday before the art camp we challenge you to take our challenge… gather a group or commit yourself to live as someone would in Kibera for just one day. You will face limitations and hardships that the majority world has to battle daily, including the children that will be attending our camp. Email me, kaylie (ksauter@buildabridge.org), and I will send you more information on what your limitations and experiences will be one that day. Afterwards, please send any reflections, photos, even videos that we can post!

Watch Last Year’s Video on YouTube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJvzMiP3URU

Make Checks To: Center for Transforming Mission and earmark check: Nairobi (Kibera Art Camp 2012) and specidfy if the money should be used in a certain way.

Send Check To: CTM 902 Market Street Tacoma, WA 98402 (www.CTMnet.org)

For Automatic Deposit: Please email Lana Rocke at Lanarocke@CTMnet.org

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