express yourself - Performing Arts
We invest in providing young children and adults a platform to engage in street dance competitions, performances in public venues to further the local cultural platforms, and provide them with the means to record their songs or play them on public radio.
Creativity improves mental health and gives these people, many who have experienced severe trauma, the opportunity to express themselves without the need to use words. They are able to explore emotion, deeper societal challenges, develop connection, a sense of community and friendship, and improve their well-being through these opportunities.
Ultimately though, when we walk through the neighborhoods where these youth come from, fully aware that the average person lives off $1 a day, and we ask these groups of kids who surround us ‘what are you proud of?’ We are surrounded by laughter, smiles and absolute joy when they proudly answer: ‘Our music and dance street performance!’ This pride of achievement and excellence is what drives us to work with them. We are proud and joyful when we can be a part of providing the space for these performances to exist.
Young fire is a dance group in the suburb of Kadutu, Bukavu. Nine orphaned and homeless children meet regularly to rehearse their own dance performances. They also record their own songs to express what is on their heart. In the future, Focus Congo wants to provide more than a platform to publicly perform and record their songs. We would like to develop this project into providing a safe place for the young performers to live together and receive educational training.
BAGIRA Street Dance
This dance group was started by Ombeni. Ombeni began bringing young people and orphaned children together through dance. He reaches out to the youth of his community in Bagira, including street kids and orphans, by providing a safe place for them to find acceptance and self-expression through his dance group. When means allow him, he also provides food for them. We wish to expand our support to the kids through Ombeni in the future.
Izulu is a performing arts group of young adults in the city of Bukavu. Among them are dancers, singers, painters and poetry slammers. They strive to advance cultural activities in the city of Bukavu by gathering artists of the region together. They organize city-wide performances under the umbrella of Focus Congo to express the demands of young people through dance in public forums and events.