One of the biggest challenges for our children in Katuuso is a lack of exposure to the world beyond their village. Our students don’t have laptops, televisions or smartphones. The life they know is the life they live, a peaceful one, but one which doesn’t allow for much interaction with the world outside of the village. We aim to change that, and this weekend, we did.
Recently on a Saturday, seven incredible dancers, artists and educators travelled from the capital city of Kampala all the way to our school in Katuuso. These dancers are not just any dancers – they've travelled the world, sharing their talents and spreading their inspirational message. They are members of Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU), an organisation whose members have dedicated their lives to using art and dance as an expression to inspire and motivate disadvantaged youth across the country.
BPU was founded in 2006 by Abraham, aka ‘Abramz’ Tekya. His mission is simple: to use breakdance and other elements of hip hop culture as outlets for underprivileged children to build leadership skills and promote positive social change. Now, more than a decade later, BPU has over a thousand members, has educated people across Africa, Europe, Asia and America, and has given hope to thousands of children through their programs.
During their visit, BPU brought hope to 150 of our students in Katuuso. The day began with introductions and jaw-dropping breakdance, popping and beatboxing demonstrations. As the demonstrations ensued, our teachers emerged from their classes, support staff and tailors looked on in disbelief, a crowd of people from the community gathered and the students clapped and cheered as they watched these entertainers do things they had never before seen or heard. Imagine the children’s surprise, when these talented artists told the children that they too would be given the chance to learn!
With much excitement, the children were then split into groups and rotated through various workshops (our littlest babies even had their own workshop) with ‘Bboy Flower’ teaching acrobatics, posing and dance. Mama Flavia, our head cook, the support staff, our nurse, and many teachers also partook in the workshops – for hours and hours the school was filled with dance, laughter and joy. BPU members, Abramz, Key, Fahadhi, Flower, Esther, Sanyu and Eric were just as enthused about the sessions as we were, and our sessions ran well over schedule. The smiles on our students’ faces (and the staffs!) were priceless.
As night began to fall, BPU wrapped up the day by sharing their gratitude to our school for the invitation, and our children for their enthusiasm. Throughout the day, our students learned how to breakdance, ‘pop’ and beatbox, but most importantly they learned what it felt like to be empowered.
They had been given a talent, something tangible which could be passed on to others, something which allows them to become educators and leaders amongst their peers. This is the mission of BPU – to share their knowledge, teach others to lead, and let disadvantaged youth know that they have the power to shape the future.
A huge thank you to Breakdance Project Uganda for committing to continuously helping our children through outreaches with School for Life Foundation.
To learn more about Breakdance Project Uganda, check out this documentary on YouTube.