Instruments4Africa empowers young people with quality education and training. I4A is in the process of forming a children’s performance troupe. From the pool of students in our apprenticeship program, we can begin to choose individuals who show an exceptional capacity in music/dance/theatre and the arts in general. These children will be chosen from applicant families, in impoverished and low income areas, who will support their children on the artist’s path.
The students will be sponsored with scholarships to attend already existing schools where they will receive a quality education in their local language as well as English and French language training. English and French training is important to provide them with the ability to present their culture and point of view to the world. After their formal school day, they will return to the community center for music and dance classes which are also connected to the mentoring program.
Our strategy is to start with a small number of boys and girls (6) in the second or third grades, and then each year add a new group to the lowest level until we have a group that ranges all the way from 3rd grade to high school. As these students will be coming from mostly illiterate families, it is important to begin in the lower grades as there will be little to no academic support in the home.
To begin our pilot program we have targeted the community of Sabalybougou, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Bamako, Mali, where we have been working since 2003. The community center there already supports Troupe Don, a traditional dance and theatre company directed by award winning choreographer Karim Togola. This group of children will eventually become our global ambassadors, taking the important messages from their African communities out into the world, and at the same time bringing back knowledge and experience to their community. We hope to grow future leaders that will improve all aspects of their community.