Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's a Wrap! The African Tour Ends!

Dear Family, Friends, Students, Dancers, The Bedford Park Players, The Summerhill Players, The Vintage Dancers, and most generous and faithful supporters:

I am now back in Canada having returned from an unprecedented and hugely successful 3 month tour of Africa with my cherished charity The Big Little Caravan of Joy (BLCJ). This summer The BLCJ journeyed through 4 African countries, planting seeds of creativity and inspiration, for 1,000s upon 1,000s of individuals. The recipients of this year’s program were made up of child care workers, educators, artists, government officials, NGOs and primarily vulnerable and orphaned children. Traveling non-stop for almost 12 weeks, The BLCJ landed in Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana. Regional African artists (called “Team Joy”) trained with a child-centric methodology worked day in and day out in dusty fields, townships, remote villages and rural communities empowering children in their presence . Whether it was facilitating an arts based curriculum in primary schools, Arks and communities or leading workshops at day symposiums and national conferences, designed and implemented by The BLCJ (specifically The Empowered African Child Conference and The Empowered Noah Child Conference) the energy, dedication and inspiration that the was expressed and shared by Team Joy(s) will be felt by 1,000s of African children for years to come.

Rather than creating a report that would epitomize an encyclopedia’s worth of wins and successes, I instead have compiled succinct lists of accomplishments, key individuals and organizations that have contributed to the overall achievements of The BLCJ’s 2011 journey throughout Africa. It must be stated that without the support and kind hearts of many individuals here in Canada, America and Africa, who passionately believe in the transformative power of the arts, this tour would not exist. With profound appreciation I write this report in order to honour and acknowledge the hundreds of supporters and volunteers, the teams of brilliant artists, childcare workers and educators, and the 1,000s of vulnerable and orphaned children who participated in our 2011 program. Without their generosity, faith and commitment The BLCJ’s vision would have not reflected such radiant colour and exuberant spirit. I continue to be fully devoted to the teams of artists who have remained loyal, unwavering and wholehearted to the vision, as well to the sweet and innocent African children who have joyfully participated in our programs.

With deep gratitude and respect,
Sarina Condello
Founder and Director
The Big Little Caravan of Joy

Swaziland Accomplishments and Outcomes 2011

• Implemented a 6-day integrated arts program at Emabheleni Primary School, for 104 students in Hhohho region, in the rural community of Maphalaleni
• Donated $500 worth of school supplies to the Emabheleni Primary School. This included science materials, posters, chalk, classroom supplies, books etc.
• Facilitated The Empowered African Child Conference (EACC 2011) which was a day symposium designed to: cultivate, celebrate and empower the expressive and authentic spirit the Swazi child by drawing on the artistry of the performing arts and the magic of creative play. Over 60 educators, artists, NGOs, and government officials attended. The day symposium was financially assisted by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, Swaziland.

• Developed the Artist-in- Residency Program that will integrate all four arts forms as taught by certified and trained Swazi performing and visual artists. The Artist-in-Residency Certification program would include 20 hours of theory and 30 hours of field work. This will include testing, analyzing teaching techniques and 3 field placements before entering as an artist in the schools.
• Developed the Primary Arts Certification Program which will be designed for Swazi Primary Grade teachers and will provide educators with extra training and specialization in one or all four art forms: music, dance, drama and visual arts. These specialization courses would take 12-14 hours, during a weekend of training, to complete each. The educator would receive a certificate of completion in the art form studied. All courses will be taught by arts educators in the country who specialize in the particular art form taught.

South Africa Accomplishments and Outcomes 2011

• Designed, implemented and facilitated a weekend national symposium held at Mangosuthu University of Technology entitled The Empowered Noah Child Conference for over 355 Activity Programmers and Ark Managers. The goal of the ENCC was to honour and educate those who care for the children and to provide them with the necessary tools and renewed inspiration to infuse each and every Noah child with something vital - joyful play!
• Facilitated 2 Performing Arts Camps with Noah, South Africa: Christianenberg Ark involved 100 children Siyanqoba Ark in New Castle involved 160 children
• Donated a year’s supply of art materials, costumes, metal trunks and soccer balls to Siyagoba

• A certification course for all Activity Coordinators and Ark Managers based on Child Spirit ti be implemented in 2013
• Development of 4-5 South Africa Team Joys for sustainable roll-out programming through the year
• A certification course for South African artists so that Team Joy SA will grow in numbers

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Nelson Mandela

Zimbabwe Accomplishments and Outcomes 2011

• Designed, implemented and facilitated a full day workshop for 30 artists and teachers in Gwanda
• Created and developed potential collaborative relationships with the Ministry of Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Education, SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe, Family Trust Harare, and SNV Zimbabwe
• Implemented a 5 day program arts based program at Mount Cazelet Primary School, Gwanda for 350 children

• Designed a certification course in Arts Education for all Primary Educators in the region of MAT South
• Developed a 6 day Creative Empowerment Camp to be held in Victoria Falls Rest Camp for 40 sexually abused children who are part of Family Support Trust based in Harare
• Created a 5 day placement with SOS Villages and guardian workshops located outside of Bulawayo
• Implemented and assisted the ongoing development of an annual Children’s Festival that would celebrate child spirit and creativity in the MAT South region

Ghana Accomplishments and Outcomes 2011

•Created a 3 week tour for 7 Canadians that embodied cultural education and volunteerism experience
•Facilitated a 5 days performing arts camp for 150 children of Dagbamete. Metro TV did a news story on The Big Little Caravan of Joy’s work in Ghana. It was aired in Senegal, Nigeria and Togo and Ghana.
•Hosted a Grandmother’s Evening Feast to honour and celebrate the women who have contributed to child spirit in the village of Dagbamete

•Ongoing training and development of artists in arts and education in the Volta region
•Developed a National Children’s Festival that will be held in Dagbamete, August 2014
•Designed a 5 day arts placement with Team Joy Ghana in the village of Dzogadze
• Developed the of permanent after-school arts training studio for the youth of Dagbamete. This would include a sewing centre and a visual arts studio and gallery.

The Bottom Line for 2011
Children who received 15-25 hours of arts based learning: 864
Adults trained in an art-based and child-centric curriculum: 465
Children who will benefit from the educators and artists training: 20,000+
Weight in pounds of the art supplies transported from Canada to Africa: 700
Hired artists for the entire tour: 35
Canadian Volunteers: 11
Kilometres traveled throughout the tour: 24,898
Crayons used: 2,500
The Big Little Caravan of Joy T-shirts distributed: 60

The Final Tally since 2006:
Children since 2006 that the BLCJ has empowered with an average of 20 hours of programming for each and every child involved: 3,914
Artists, educators, child care workers that BLCJ has educated since 2006: 546

A Big Thank you to the following individuals and groups for supporting the ongoing works of The Big Little Caravan of Joy:

Fundraising Communities
The Bedford Park Players,
The Summerhill Players, The Vintage Dancers, many generous individuals

Supporting Organizations
Friends of Noah Canada Noah, South Africa (Especially Rachel Compaan)
People╩╝s Educational Theatre, Swaziland
Ministry of Arts and Culture, Swaziland
Ministry of Education, Zimbabwe
Ministry of Sports, Arts, Culture, Zimbabwe

Individual Supporters:
Kevin Sullivan, Kristi Herold, Nicky Potter, Susan Warburton, Vivian Saffer, Bojan Vitko, Randi Kirshehnbaum, Sarah Ferris,
Kyra, Quentin and Teya Vitko, Ruth and Tony Condello, Mark Greenspan, Russ Smith,
Cary Laudadio, Sheila Philcox

Team Joy South Africa 2011
Susie Mjwara, Busi Biyela, Sipho Mdletshe, Sabee Shozi, Mr. Fish/Sibusiso Dlamini

Team Joy Zimbabwe 2011
Andrew Moyo ( Co-director), Richard Ndlovu, Brain Ndlovu, Adrian Drivo, Musa Khulekani Sibanda, Bathabile Nyatin

Team Joy Swaziland 2011
Nicholas Mamba ( Co-director), Andrew Moyo, Sandile Ndzimandze, Musa Zikalala,
Phumzile Dlamini, Wandile Mabaso

Team Joy Ghana 2011
Aku Richter (Co-director), Joe Dunyo, Andrew Dunyo, Sakora Dzamesi,
Ledzi Agudzemegah

Canadian Volunteers
Damarise Ste. Marie (Co-director) EACC, ENCC, Swaziland, South Africa
Sharon Hampson and Bram Morrison- ENCC, South Africa
Kristi Herold- ENCC, South Africa
Vivian Saffer- ENCC, South Africa
Nicky Potter- EACC, ENCC, Swaziland, South Africa
Jillian Green- Ghana
Gail Leger- Ghana
Miles Vitko- Ghana
Susan Beayni- Ghana
Sandra Laurin- Ghana
Jan Sutin- Ghana
Kate Westphal - Ghana

Thank you Karen Krakowitzer for seeing the importance and relevance of this material for Noah’s children. Also a big thanks to Dr. Greg Ash for creating this organization and supporting South African’s most vulnerable and sweet. A big hug to Daisy, Cno, Shku, Bongiwe and Numusa for your work and support too during this time. But the biggest thank you goes to the force behind the ENNC and that has been Rachel Compaan! She single handedly executed all aspects to the ENC conference with hard work, vision and dedication.
Nicky Potter, you have been my guardian angel. Thank you for journeying not once but twice into the heart of Africa in only three months!
Thank you Nicholas, Sandile, Andrew, and Damarise for the heart and soul you have contributed to this journey!
Jamie, you simply set me up! Thank you dear man!