Projects Across The Globe

Kenya

In August 2014 Missy and Lotte visited The Happy House Orphanage in Watamu, Kenya. This orphanage is a home for 80 children where the youngest is 2 months and the oldest nearly 18. We got the opportunity to introduce the arts to their lives and living. The smiles speak for themselves and no words can describe the happiness and pride on the faces when creating art.

We facilitated group workshops creating self-portraits. To make a self-portrait you have to look at yourself, take a moment and absorb what you see, see how beautiful you are. When you live in an orphanage you have different priorities, as a child, as part of the happy house family, you go to school, you take care of each other, clean, cook and help where-ever you can. This workshop was all about them. What do you see, which color are your eyes, how does your nose look like? But also, is this a happy person? What do you see if you look further then the obvious features?

The beauty of art workshops like this is that every child can engage as much as he/she wants to. There is no pressure, no expectation. And it is exactly this, which makes a child try, explore and experience working with art materials. The spontaneous features of the materials provided the children with excitement and great fun.

The pride on their faces when they made a chalk painting on the floor, the giggles when looking at each others self-portraits, the joy when their hands and faces are covered in paint, the fun they have when blowing bubbles, but I feel that it almost doesn’t do it justice on how powerful it really was. It is so amazing to see that with only the use of art you reach out, create and connect. Speaking a different language in words but speaking the same language when it comes to art is the most powerful think I have experienced. Art really connects, even with the shy ones, the scared ones, the angry ones. It makes you forget everything around, makes you, as a child, be a child.

The children touched my heart, the braveness they possess and the unconditional love they give to the little ones living in the orphanage is priceless. I feel blessed to have met them and to get the opportunity to listen to their stories, their fears and wishes for the future. They made me laugh, cry, but most of all, they showed me how the little things in life can make a big difference.

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