Art Camp in Dandora

25 Aug

Dandora is another informal settlement surrounding the city of Nairobi but the aspect of this area that is most prominent in the mind of Nairobian residence when you mention Dandora is… trash. All of the city’s garbage is taken in huge truckloads to Dandora and dumped. Many people live and find work and resources within the garbage dump. This year I have gotten to know a group of artists from Dandora and they decided they wanted to bring the Diaspora of Hope Art Camp to the children living in the dumping area.  So in August, once the children were out of school for a few weeks break, the artists organized themselves and held the first ever art camp to hit Dandora!

My involvement was minimal, which is a good sign, in order for this camp to run on its own. My role was to come in and offer the Buildabridge camp training for a day where we covered lesson planning, creating a safe and supportive space, using the tools of the theme, motto, and rules so that while the children are taught art they are challenged in deep ways that speak into spiritual, emotional, and social areas of life. On the part of the artists, they identified a local church space to hold the  camp for 4 days, targeting 60-80 children and identifying resources and supplies in the community. The artists received a small donation of money to work with from a local organization so this was used for a few art supplies in addition to lunch and porridge each day for the children in order to hold them into the afternoon. The classes offered were based on the art forms that these artists were most skilled in…including drawing, dance, and card making. In the future they would like to teach glass painting but this is more costly so hopefully next year, in anticipation of the camp, the artists will be able to find these resources before camp.

During the camp I was able to be on observer and then actively participated as a helper when needed. This was refreshing, to get to see the artists organize themselves completely, without my initiative. The children came in larger numbers than expected yet each day went smoothly and there were supplies and food enough for everyone. This event brought another arts group together for the single honorable purpose of instructing children in the arts so that they can come away a better person.

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