Today, I am going to tell you about a young painter-turned-social-activist who is using art to help children find an alternative to drugs, violence, and hopelessness.
Organization: Wajukuu Art Project
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Context: Thousands of children living in the slums of Nairobi are orphans, having lost parents to diseases, drugs, or violence. Without support or a positive outlet to express themselves, these children often find themselves trapped and unable to overcome their daily struggle.
Background: GO Local Hero Shabu Mwangi is a former street child who transformed his life through art. Now a successful painter and award winning photographer, Shabu is giving back by helping other children become artists, continue their education, learn to read, and become engaged and active citizens.
Current Status: In December 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $4,878 to Wajukuu to support their weekly art workshops and create a documentary film screening program and discussion group. Both programs are thriving and impacting approximately 110 youth. Through these initiatives, Shabu is helping empower youth. Youth are learning to identify and solve some of the most pressing issues in their community.
Benson is 16 years old and lives in the Lunga Lunga Slum with his mother and older brother. When Benson was 11, his mother was struggling financially. Benson’s older brother selflessly dropped out of school so that Benson could continue his education. Now a sophomore at St. Michael Secondary School, Benson participates in Wajukuu’s weekly art workshops and documentary film series while developing his communication skills in the process. He says that “Before I used to be a very quiet person who would just watch in silence if anything was happening, be it right or wrong, but now I have changed. I don’t just watch, but do my best to do what is right and use my voice.”