Victor Onyango Odhiambo and Grace Atieno Owino of Nairobi, Kenya are therapeutic artists and dancers leading Kibera Social Arts, a program seeking to address the psychosocial needs of youth affected by poverty, violence, and abuse through therapeutic dance and movement in Africa's largest slum.
A Message From Victor and Grace
"We have been dancing since as long as we can remember but we first heard about dance/movement therapy (DMT) in 2014. We had our first experience with actual dance/movement therapists from GAA's TAP program in 2015. With all that we've learnt since then, we have been able to apply some therapeutic dance/movement techniqes to our work. We feel it would be a great thing for us to attend the ADTA conference to meet a lot of DMTs from diverse countries and cultures and learn from them how differently or similarly they work with their respective populations/ institutions. We belive in giving back to our Kibera community but in order to give we first need to have, and in order to have we sometimes need to ask or find. This conference is the best platform for us to ask or find knowledge from the DMT world!
We'd like to thank you all so much for beliving in our work and supporting us in this endevor! "
Why is this Campaign Important?
1. Victor and Grace are doing important work using dance and movement as a catalyst for wellbeing with youth in the Kibera slum. Their work will beneifit from the many applicable facets of dance/movment therapy taught by experts at the conference.
2. Victor and Grace aren't only passionate about their work, they're also really great at it! (Read more about a recent effectivness study below.) By supporting them you're supporting their mission to foster healthier social, physical, and mental well-being of youth in Kibera.
3. It is more important than ever to amplify historically unheard voices! Every year, Africa is the least represented continent at the conference, which regularly welcomes dance/movement therapists from Asia, Australia, South America, Canada, and Europe! Grace and Victor are themselves talented, capable, therapeutic artists and experts at their work. They bring an East African perspective we firmly belived needs to be included in conversations about therapeutic dance/movement. Despite the amazing work that is happening in East Africa, the barriers of travel and finances have been too great to overcome in the past. This year we want to change that!
Victor and Grace were raised in the Kibera slum and are graduates of Social Work and Community Development. By working with youth in their community they are able to give back to the next generation, contribute to a better society, and help fill the gap between the lack of psychological services available and the overwhelming psychosocial needs of youth in the Kibera slum.
As ongoing partners of Global Alliance for Africa's (GAA) Therapeutic Arts Training Program (TAP), Victor and Grace participate in professional exchanges and workshops on therapeutic arts techniques and theories with other therapeutic artists from East Africa and creative arts therapists from the around the world including faculty from the art therapy and dance/movement therapy graduate programs at the School of the Art Institute Chicago ,George Washington University, and Columbia College Chicago.
The TAP trainings sparked Victor and Grace's interest in learning more about the formal field known as dance/movement therapy and how knowledge from the field could be applied to their work. Through meeting dance/movement therapists during TAP trainings and conducting their own research from classic dance/movement therapy texts donated to GAA's Kibera Community Library, Victor and Grace have gained some insight on the healing power of dance/movement therapy. But, they are hungry for more! Victor and Grace have been hearing about the conference for several years now and have a dream to attend.
The ADTA conference is in San Antonio, TX this year and is too expensive for Victor and Grace to manage on their own. We are looking to our community of therapeutic artists, creative arts therapists, mentors, family and friends to make this dream a reality.
July 15, 2017!
Conference Early Bird Registration: $1200
U.S. Visa Processing: $208
Gofundme fees: $400
Total to raise: $5000
Commitment: We are trying to save money every step of the way in each of these categories by requesting discounts, getting the early bird rate, and sharing costs. If we are successful in saving some dollars, any extra funds raised will be donated and split between Kibera Social Arts programming and the Therapeutic Arts Program's current need to fund a social work coordinator in Kenya and hold basic counseling trainings.
Victor and Grace aren't only passionate about using dance and movement as a catalyst for wellbeing with youth, they're also really great at it!
A recent program evaluation conducted by a outside evaluator from Columbia College Chicago's dance/movement therapy and counseling program found empirical evidence demonstrating that Victor and Grace's therapeutic dance program effectively meets 3 predetermined goals: (1) supports artistic talent in participants through dance, education, and personal encouragement; (2) establishes secure attachment; (3) and instills a sense of belonging, leadership, and responsibility. Qualitative data highlighted the theme the overwhelming positive impact the program has on participants. Implications suggest: (1) that the therapeutic dance program fills an important gap in the context of the Kibera slum, where literature shows that participants have little to no access to mental health services, experience poverty, violence, loss of loved ones to HIV/AIDS, and risk diverting towards illegal activity and addiction; and (2) that therapeutic arts programs like this therapeutic dance program can serve a meaningful role in community settings and make a significant impact on improving the lives of participants. An additional discussion was included about the possible role of community based therapeutic arts programs and the global interface with the creative arts therapies scope of practice.
This conference is that global interface!
Thank You For Your Support!
Michelle Belanger Photography (throughout)
Collin Crawley (top left photo)
Charlie Ainslie (top right photo)
Click here to listen to Victor and GAA Director Tom Derdak share about the TAP program on 91.5 WBEZ Chicago!
To get a feel for the spirit of Kibera please check out this beautiful video by Mireia Graell Vivancos & Luis Lanchares