The first phase of the project “Refugees on the move” took place between October 25 and November 25, 2011 in Chad: Taïgue Ahmed, a Chadien dancer, choreographer and director, along with a troupe of dancers, actors and musicians, went into the camps of Moula and Yaroungou, home to 16,000 Central African refugees, to facilitate dance workshops that were followed by awareness discussions around prevention against AIDS, violence against women, sanitation, etc. Through this work, the choreographers and dancers allow the refugees to gain self-confidence, replace boredom and lack of a future with self expression. A tool to channel violence, the practice of dance is a proven way to regain self-awareness and vital energy and thus allows the participants to gain a greater receptivity to the messages relayed during the workshops. These workshops also involve local populations who live right next to the camps, a way to create a connection and a greater mutual acceptance.
The workshops brought together several hundred people of all ages. Taïgue Ahmed and his dancers have spotted among them the best dancers and natural leaders, who will be responsible for prolonging the activity of dancing after the departure of the team. Follow-up visits will be organized to verify the sustainability of what has been initiated.
To leverage the influence of the project, AAD has put Taïgue Ahmed in contact with Marie Bede Koubemba, the choreographer for the next series of workshops that will take place in Congo Brazzaville. Marie Bede participated in the workshops in Moula and Yaroungou and will replicate the project in his country based on what he has learned. He will himself welcome a Central African choreographer for the workshops in Congo Brazzaville, who in turn will lead workshops in the Central African Republic and so on for 3 years in 10 African countries. AAD wishes to create a chain reaction of hope.
Pictures : CC
Every year, at the begining of the dry season, the Lamba community in Makwacha village (located 50km South of Lubumbashi in Democratic Republic of Congo) perpetuates an ancestral tradition: women describe their daily life through natural pigment paintings using their own houses as support.
And every year, there is a lack of water during the dry season in the area.
More than 28 000 liters of drinking water are extracted everyday, making drinking water accessible to more than 4 000 inhabitants within a 2 km radius away from Makwacha.
A committee of 7 people, essentially women, is in charge of looking after the wells. This opportunity gives women important responsabilities within their community. 500 francs congolais per month (more or less 0.4 euros) are asked to every family to get drinking water. At the begining of June, 90 000 francs congolais have been collected by the committee to maintain the wells in good state.
The next step is the construction of the second well located in the south of Makwacha village. It will start between August and October 2011. Then, the third well will be sinked in the North of Mwaiseni before the end of 2011.
Welcoming these wells, women from Makwacha realized eight big painting (100 x 300 cm). One of them is currently exposed at Tilder’s office, in Paris. These pieces, painted on a wooden support, respects local tradition by only using natural pigments.
Created in 2009 by Gervanne and Matthias Leridon, the endowment fund African Artists for Development – AAD – initiates, develops and supports the action of African artists committed to community-based micro development projects. As an approach that is both artistic and societal, African Artists for Development intrinsically links contemporary art and local development initiatives, not by promoting one or the other but by promoting one within the other.
AAD brings together original artists and development initiatives, capable of generating sustainable economic and societal development, improved well-being, improved living standards and changes in mentality more by leveraging than the size of the budgets committed.
AAD provides the impetus and funding required to mature and give concrete expression to micro development projects, but refuses any approach restricted to simple assistantship. The AAD projects are short/medium-term; the aim is to be a catalyst for actions, not to implement them as such.
In return for the extraordinary involvement of artists in the implementation of the development project that they are supporting, AAD provides them with a deep pool of ideas and thoughts, a wide network of contacts throughout Europe and the USA, logistics help, communications expertise based on Tilder’s know-how and possible additional funding which can be used to develop their artistic projects.
AAD brings different worlds together, forcing the economic and corporate world to confront that of NGOs and contemporary African art as a result of improbable human undertakings leading to incredible adventures. This decompartmentalization of environments which are a priori far apart involves meetings, contacts and mutual enrichment, the intermingling of people and know-how.
The choice of Sub-saharan Africa is considered and fully accepted – the “African” scene on which the AAD is based is designed as a whole, despite being highly diverse and comprising multiple singularities. A rapprochement and not an amalgamation, is being done in the name of a geographic, cultural and historic choice.
This endowment fund is a private initiative which forms part of a humanitarian patronage approach that is independent of all political, diplomatic or religious motivations.
Many AAD projects are already underway, among which :
– “Women for Water in Makwacha” in Katanga province, Democratic Republic of Congo
– “Les bulles de Bukavu” in South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo