March 18, 2021
By Emma Dredge
2020 has been a tough year for the entire world.
However, a group of remarkable children from one of the largest slums in Kenya, have been bringing smiles and joy to others through the beauty of their dancing.
With the closure of schools due to COVID-19 and no technology to continue their learning online, these children found themselves completely excluded from education. This resulted in them having nowhere to go and at risk of abuse, exploitation and the possibility of not returning to school post pandemic.
Once the Government eased restrictions and allowed small gatherings to take place, In2Ed Africa created a dance programme. Initially it was intended as a way to raise the well-being and self-confidence of the children and give them a sense of much needed fun. However, this very quickly flourished and what started out as a way to give children hope has since become an incredible showcase of their skills and talents.
Working with local dance teachers has meant that we have been able to catalyze movement towards partnership through education and community initiatives. It has enabled us to create opportunities for children living in resource poor environments and prove that nothing is impossible when we each practice care and collaboration.
We have witnessed the amazing resilience of children and what can happen when communities care for each other—building caring, local partnership systems one relationship at a time.
Local dance teachers, Daniel Mboya and Winnie Kett, are experienced performers and teach traditional dance across Nairobi. Daniel says:
“Being involved in dancing has raised the self esteem of the children and given them direction, whilst keeping them safe and engaged.”
Many of these children had their homes destroyed at the beginning of the pandemic, leaving them without shelter or belongings. It also meant that they no longer owned shoes to dance in. But this did not stop them! They were determined to dance and so continued their lessons in the dusty streets of the slums – barefooted.
In2Ed Africa was naturally concerned about the potential for injury and so we started a fundraiser for new shoes. Thanks to the kindness and compassion of others, we were able to give a pair of shoes to each of our young dancers to ensure that they were protected, safe and kept dancing!
The children are now working very hard to perfect their dances, so that they can entertain their family, friends and community in a COVID-19 safe concert, bringing some light to a neighbourhood that has faced a very challenging time indeed.
The closure of schools has had devastating consequences on the lives of many children living in marginalised communities across the world.
However, here in the slums of Nairobi, we have witnessed the amazing resilience of children and what can actually happen when communities care for each other and work together for the greater good, building caring, local partnership systems one relationship at a time.
If schools had not remained closed this year, the world may never have had the opportunity to see the amazing talents that lie inside each of these children. In2Ed Africa plans to live stream the concert on 19th December 2020 and shine a light on these incredible children and their talents.
Learn More: in2EdAfrica.org
Emma Dredge is a Development Officer at In2Ed Africa. She works with a team of global educators committed to transforming global landscapes through providing a quality education for all. We always work with integrity and have a real respect for sustainability and the preservation of the environment, so that communities develop and become self-reliant. Our transformation occurs across many corners of the globe as we bridge the divides of resource rich and resource poor, teaching people that kindness and compassion is priceless.