Ballet in the slums

ANNO’S AFRICA is a UK based charity that offers an arts education to orphans and vulnerable children in some of Africa’s most desperately deprived city slums. The children who have been participating in the programmes live in the most appalling conditions, sleeping either on the streets or in corrugated iron shacks with no amenities, where often families of eight or more struggle to feed themselves on less than a dollar a day. Scavenging on rubbish tips in an effort to find something to sell so that they can cobble together enough for an evening meal is the way many of these children survive. They are prey to many illnesses: malaria, intestinal worms, pneumonia and other lung infections and of course the ever present threat of HIV / AIDS.

Although there are many charities working to supply medical help and feed these children, what is sometimes overlooked is that they are as hungry for an education as they are for food. They themselves will tell you that hand-outs, although vital in the short term, are not a long term solution and the only way out of the desperate poverty trap is through education.

ANNO’S AFRICA links with several schools to provide the kids with a series of workshops in the arts for several weeks each year. Their programmes cover five major disciplines. Art, Drama, Music, Dance (including Ballet) and Circus skills. During the workshops they also offer teacher training to local artists so that the arts projects can become permanent features in these schools.

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Paintings by the children