Graduates relieve poor school

01 December 2008

UCT graduates have spearheaded an arts project that helps young children to develop their creativity in a safe environment, and gives teachers of a local school relief from overcrowded classes.

Since October, 20 volunteers of the Circle of Love School Arts Programme, including 10 UCT graduates, have shared their performing and visual-arts expertise to inspire 300 learners of the under-resourced Good Hope Seminary Junior School in Cape Town.

The former UCT students are Leila Anderson, , Fiona du Plooy, Mdu Kweyama, Shirley Lowe, Ntombi Makhutshi, Thami Mbongo, Bridget McCarthy, Cindy Mkaza, Chuma Sopotela and Peggy Tunyiswa. The project is a social development initiative of the Union International of Marrionette (UNIMA).

Through puppetry, dance, music, drama, art and design, they help the children to explore inspiration from nature and deepen their understanding of the environment through creative expression.

Mkhaza said the idea is to expose the children to more than a classroom environment. They aimed to boost their self-esteem so they can make better decisions in life.

"We are trying to nurture the next generation of leaders."

It all started when Lowe visited the school only to find that teachers were battling to manage classes of up to 60 children. Cleaners had to help, and Lowe organised her friends and colleagues to halve the classes and allow teachers to deal with a manageable number.

The project culminated with an eco-themed show at the school last week.

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