Arts and Skills Development Centre

Arts and Skills Development Centre.
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Our mission is to establish a vibrant community cultural centre in the town of Grabouw in Theewaterskloof Municipality.
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The project is a joint initiative between the Danish organisation Nordic Designers Aid, the organisation Arkitekter uden Grænser, Denmark, Stellenbosch University, Theewaterskloof Municipality as well as two local civil society organisations located in Grabouw; Rural Arts Network and Grabouw Beautiful Campaign.
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The vision of the programme is to establish a vibrant ‘Arts and Skills Development Centre’ in the town of Grabouw in Theewaterskloof Municipality, – as well as to strengthen the capacity of local civil society organisations in the area that work within the field of arts, crafts, entrepreneurship and creative expression.
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The project will focus on organisations that have as their primary target group children and youth from the poorest homes in the informal areas in Grabouw and Elgin Valley. Children and youth who would not otherwise be able to engage in the world of arts, theater, dance, music, craftmanship and entrepreneurial activities.
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The Centre will be an innovative facility dedicated to the display, creation of and participation in various artistic disciplines. Examples of creative activities are classes in drawing, dance, theatre, music, storytelling and entrepreneural programmes such as food and business, jewellery, woodwork, sewing and design courses as well as the running of a small art shop and café.

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Another goal is to establich a community exhibit room that serves as a location for young local artists and other lesser-known artists to show their works. And also, to implement a local platform for international, culturel exchange programmes and knowledge sharing between artists, NPO’s and institutions working within the field of the arts, learning, community- and peacebuilding.
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Buzz words: art, learning, participation and inclusion
The Centre will not only be a place of creative expression, but also a space for children and youth from different cultural and social backgrounds to engage on equal terms and learn from each other.
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By reaching out to impoverished children and youth through art and creative activities the centre can provide an alternative to gang life, drugs and alcohol abuse.
The programme can help them resist negative social pressure and increase their awareness about contemporary issues such as consequences of early child bearing, alcohol- and drug abuse and sexual health.
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Art and creative activities can also help them build a strong sense of self, improve their communication skills and self-esteem. Further, research shows that when words fail ‘art therapy’ can be an important tool used to cope with traumatic events such as rape or sexual abuse.
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We also believe that arts, culture, and creative expression are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. Art creates a room for people to challenge prejudices and discrimination and enhance democratic dialogue. Arts and culture strategies engage, inspire and allow a community to begin to understand the historic, cultural, economic, and social context – an essential foundation for developing and building a sense of place and identity.
The Centre will therefore be able to make an important impact in an area marked by segregation, where the most vulnerable groups are not able to participate in the social and economic development.
 

Keeping the children safe

The programme can help make an important and positive change for the children in the area where we work.
Many of the children living in the informal and impoverished areas of Grabouw are left to themselves when returning home from school. This can be due to the fact that their parents are forced to work long hours or that they are not able to do proper caring for them because of sickness or alcohol and drug abuse.
In the poorest neighborhoods you’ll therefore often encounter children running around on their own.
It’s a dangerous environment to move around in without an adult, and Maria Liv from NDA has on numerous fieldtrips found that young children find their way to the local taverns in the daytime, because the music and the people attract them. This makes them an easy target for abuse.
The goal with the center is therefore also to build a safe area where children between the age of 4-12 years can play, learn and be creative under the supervision and support of trained adults. At the center the children will have access to activities like: painting, music, storytelling, dancing and sport. Or they can simply just run around on the playground and have fun.
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“The strategy is to see art and culture in a rights-based, development and growth perspective. The key words are freedom of expression, social change, diversity, culture in reconciliation processes, intercultural understanding and creative industries.”
Danish Development Cooperation
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