Lalela Project is an arts non-profit organisation based in Hout Bay – a coastal suburb known as “the valley of the Atlantic seaboard” of the Cape Peninsula. Lalela, which means to “listen” in Zulu, was founded by Andrea Kerzner when she was inspired by the many organisations that work tirelessly to address the physical needs of children affected by extreme poverty.
Kerzner decided to join these organisations in an innovative way and was motivated to complement their efforts with programs that focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual health of children. Through collaboration, she believed, we can reach the “whole” child, both his/her physical and mental self. “By empowering a child to see possibilities in his or her future, one can break the cycle of extreme poverty, one child at a time,” as stated on Lalela’s website.
Around the world, one of the most inevitable and extreme challenges is poverty. Poverty deprives children of essential human needs, goods and services – a catalyst to their survival, growth and development. Lalela understands that the power of the art is to connect with children on an emotional, mental and spiritual level. The organisation’s engagement is to listen to children’s individual stories and to understand community needs.
“Research has shown that educational arts are closely linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development, and civic engagement. In addition, their high school programmes are focused toward creating young leaders and high achievers, seeding new career paths that help break the chains of poverty,” says Lalela.
The organisation’s programmes initiate positive social change through creative and innovative core curriculum of ideas, art and music (I AM). Lalela provides education and arts to children and teenagers from first grade up to twelfth grade in a safe learning environment, after-school and on holiday periods. These programmes help develop and navigate a clear path for students who are normally from underprivileged backgrounds. Lalela also aims to ignite imagination and teach children how to manifest their dreams and develop skills in order for these individuals to preserve themselves and their communities.
Lalela concentrates on national and regional programmes, which are both ongoing and short-term. One such national project was a collaboration between Lalela Project students and world-renowned South African-born artist, Robin Rhode, at the Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town. Groups of Grade 1 Artists from the communities of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay – ranging in age from 6 to 8 years old – participated in an educational experience with Rhode, for his first solo exhibition in South Africa in over a decade.
“For our students, the opportunity to collaborate with a world-renowned artist who is also from South Africa – their country – in a world-renowned gallery like Michael Stevenson, is extremely empowering. Rhode serves as a role model, encouraging our learners to see that anything in life is really possible. And this collaborative effort underscores a value we hold highly at Lalela Project, and which we strive to emphasize in each of our arts education workshops – that art is everywhere; it is within us, it is outside of us, and it is a powerful means of creating change!” says CEO and founder of Lalela Project, Andrea Kerzner.
Below are Lalela’s current, recent and upcoming projects.
if i could… currently has three international interns placed with Lalela Project.
Sonia Ferdousi, if i could… intern originally from the United Kingdom, joined Lalela in November 2013, where she is interning for career experience. With a BA (Honours) in Design and Art Direction, Sonia supports the organisation specifically on the arts and design programmes. “I came to do the internship during a career break from the UK – hoping to get some general life and career experience. Currently Lalela is working on an upcoming collaboration with the World Design Capital, our project is called Maboneng – during which we will be transforming 10 houses in a township into individual art galleries. Being a part of this has been amazing and one of my other favourite events is the Best of 2013 Exhibition that took place in the One and Only Hotel at the Waterfront,” says Sonia.
“Working with children poses several challenges, highs and lows, but it is what makes up the entirety of the experience. Thus far the project experience has been incredible. In volunteering with the Lalela Project I am hoping to experience the magical way in which art breaks through cultural and linguistic barriers. I want to experience the identity of South Africa through its youth and become involved in the healing process,” says intern Kaitlin Emmons, a Political Science and Studio Art graduate from Bridgewater State University.
Our third intern with Lalela, Danielle, adds, “The kids are adorable! The children we work with are so impressionable and much of what they are surrounded by in their home lives is very negative. We conduct art workshops for kids in all years of primary and high school, and I hope to make a positive impact in their lives. I’m also looking to gain new skills and I’d love to come out of this experience feeling confident about my ability to run a workshop, as well as the organisational skills to plan events on a larger scale than I’ve ever worked before.”
No comments yet.