Help us start the Girls Empowerment Art Camp in Malawi. Our goal is to start a camp this summer for girls in Malawi, Africa, where we will help them create and share their stories through writing, dance, visual arts, and music. We plan to teach our skills in these areas, and to learn from them in return. We’re asking for help funding supplies like paper, pencils, pens, crayons, musical instruments and the girls' daily lunches (they're traveling far from their villages). Any extra funds will be shared with the village to help fund student tuition, and to purchase blankets and food for orphans and the elderly.
We believe the arts help develop a person’s self-worth, and can contribute to a girl’s ability to grow academically. And the stronger a girl’s education in Malawi, the better her odds are in life. An educated Malawian girl has better health, lower risk of pregnancy or HIV, and is less likely to marry as a teenager (source Educational Mgt Statistics System Bulletin, 2013)
This inaugural trip is in conjunction with the Othakarhaka (Repaying the Kindness) Project, a grassroots organization founded by Ida Puliwa, the first female to graduate from her village. After help from the kindness of others to help her finish school, especially the help of Dr. Marquita Hill, Ida revitalized her surrounding ten villages with her spirit of gratitude. You can learn more about her story, the village, and Malawi here .
My good friend, Dr. Don Thomas, has been working with Ida's village for many years, providing medical help and treatments. Don's vision is to expand the support to include the arts. Don has connected a group of us all involved in the arts (whether through singing, dance, etc.) who will help shape and run the camp in Malawi. Travelers include:
Stephanie Bosch (creative writing) is a professor of African Literature, UCLA
Jocelyn Shealy McGee (reflective writing, mindfulness, expressive arts) is a clinical psychologist and resilience researcher who is dedicated to helping women thrive around the world.
Scott Thurmond (photography, art) is a professional photographer, artist and woodworker.
Caren Greenwood (dance, music) is a retired teacher.
Erica Priolo (dance) is a professional dancer and teacher.
Claire DeCoste (drawing, art) is a high school senior who plans to attend art school for college.
Gloria DeCoste (music) is a marketing executive at Nestle.
David Hemphill (drama), is an actor and singer, now pursuing a Masters degree at USC School of Film.
Gillian Kessler (dance, creative writing) teaches creative writing at Missoula International School.
Heather Adams (dance) is a dancer, choreographer, who owns Missoula's Downtown Dance Collective.
Katrina Johnson (drama, video) - Filmmaker and owner of Amplify Film Group, producers of positive videos.
Don Thomas (music) is a semi-retired emergency doctor.
THANK YOU for considering helping us with this effort!