GIRLS HAVE A DREAM SCHOOL CREATING ART FROM PLASTIC GARBAGE TO SAVE THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
This pilot is very unique, and involves innovative work in saving the natural environment while producing art and useful products. In partnership with Girls Have A Dream School and Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design ( NIAAD ).
17 girls from Girls Have a Dream School, run by Esther Nalule, near Kampala, Uganda have invited two students from Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design (NIAAD) along with teacher Kiffe Yoweri for a month long weekend project where they will be creating sculptural works from plastic garbage. The Norwegian artist Anki King from Brooklyn, New York was asked to be a long distance mentor for the project using Skype, Facebook and email to communicate with the students. She is also the fund raiser in this pilot.
Girls Have a Dream School was created in an attempt to help girls break this cycle and also for them to help others break the cycle. The students are between 14 and 20 years of age. And now the girls from The Dream school and their invited guests from NIAAD are being encouraged to express themselves in new ways through art. It has become very difficult for the government and the public to control waste in rural and urban areas because the government has not developed a waste management policy. So garbage is piled high around the city and in any area where people are living. We will use these materials to create new visions, and to see possibilities in garbage as materials available for creative ventures. There will be an exhibit at the end where people from the community will be invited to see the work and the girls will be able to take pride in their creations.
The organization Mother Courage started by Bitten Schei of Norway, is the force behind Girls Have a Dream School and Small is Great where Ugandan girls and women are taught and then teach each other: life skills, human rights awareness, sexual reproductive health, self reliance, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment
Women in Uganda are generally seen as inferior to males. They rarely complete primary school (only a third of schools had adequate sanitation and separate toilets for girls) and are wed at a young age. They have many children and go into a permanent struggle with poverty, child births, hard work and often violent husbands (48% of women have experienced physical violence from a partner, while 36% have experienced sexual violence from a partner (Source: UN Women 2011-2012)). Many of them live in the poorest communities and the HIV/AIDS epidemic is pushing them into deeper poverty. They die early. Thus they maintain the cycle of poverty for generations from mother to daughter. People are increasingly creating different ways of reducing the damage they are causing to the planet bringing intelligent ideas about recycling and re using daily objects. Girls Have A Dream School is creating art from plastic garbage as a way of saving the natural environment.
Anki King has been doing a great work with the girls, inspiring them to do the best. The girls love the Art project and working with her. She has been on Skype with them and has encouraged them to do their best through her motivational videos and raising the money. 17 girls participated, and out of these 2 emerged as the first and second basing on the most innovative idea, what they wanted to express and what they can invent.
Girls Have A Dream School was having their exhibition with their project at Wankulukuku. Close to Kampala. CBS PEWOSA has organized it. PEWOSA empower people with financial, leadership, management and Entrepreneurial skills. It is the biggest trade fair in Uganda currently. They normally hold annual exhibitions attracting very many people, and it covers a week attended by business community and organizations that want to promote what they do.
Thank you to every one who made this a success.
Nalule Esther, Head of Girls Have A Dream School.
A LETTER FROM THE ARTIST AND MENTOR:
Dear Ugandan Sisters and some Brothers too:
How wonderful is this new world where we can connect across far distances to meet, to share, to see and learn. When we started this project together I knew very little about you, about your country and your lives and then I have learned that you are strong, that you find your ways through large difficulties, I learned that you are brave and have limitless imagination and that you have the tools to create fantastic works of art I could never have dreamt of.
What we hoped to achieve with this project was to put focus on the issue around waste and specifically on plastic which there is not yet a public program to handle. What if we can look upon the piles of garbage and see possibility, to see materials? If some of us can see it with new eyes and show others what this means, then maybe ideas can be born of how we can deal with the issues around garbage waste. And you will be part of starting this process. You have seen it with new eyes and you are now showing the world around you how to see it in a new way.
It has been very difficult selecting a winner. There were so many incredible creative sculptures and I am absolutely blown away by everything you created. As soon as you were given the tools, you took them way past any expectations we might have had. My hope is that you will continue creating and seeing possibilities around you that others might have missed. I hope you keep expressing yourself and create more fantastic works.
I want to give a special thank you to Nalule Esther who has worked so hard making all of this happen. I hope you can all see her and see what a difference one person can make. If you create more works, I am sure she will help us share them with the world on Facebook where many have followed your project.
Now to the prize:
I want to start with the second place work; this will go to Oliver who created the scavenger bird. This is a bird that lives from much of what is being thrown away and it helps the environment while helping itself. Maybe we all could learn something from this bird on seeing possibilities where others see only garbage.
The winner of the Plastic Girls project will be Hailati with her old woman carrying firewood. May we all become as old as this grandmother. Hailati spoke about what separates the old generation who lived off the land and the new generation who has new interests and new goals and often forget to listen to the land. Let the old woman remind us that even with all our new technology, our office jobs and city life, we need to listen to the land, it is our mother and grandmother and we need to take care of her and find ways of dealing with the waste we are leaving behind.
With love and gratitude that I got to know you,
Motivation videos from Anki to the girls:
Video: The Plastic Girls from Uganda