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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Children’s access to arts, vital for development - Moyo

By Andrew Mulenga

The Amos Youth Centre (AYC), a leading educational non-profit organization with a focus on supporting disadvantaged children and youth based in Kafue recently added an art initiative to their many learning programmes.

Acting Kafue District Commissioner Ngoni Moyo
during the launch of AYC Art Programme
The centre, which is located in Shikoswe Township, has various programs among them a feeding programme, computer tuitions, a spelling bee, chess, JETS, poetry, drama, and culture clubs. The new art programme is being supported by ArtSPROUTS an international organisation that facilitates after school program that fosters education and appreciation for the arts, and provides tools for creative self-expression and leadership.

Officiating at the launch, guest of honour Kafue acting District Commissioner Ngoni Moyo expressed excitement at the private initiative stating it was in line with government’s effort to prioritize the reach of art and culture throughout the country.

“Our government has come with career paths in secondary schools so that more children have access to skills in art and other fields,” he said.

He added that government has observed that it is time to show commitment towards developing an art sector and market Zambia to enhance economic empowerment for the youths, stressing that in the hands of children and the youth, art can create a lifetime advantage to communities the Zambian nation and the African region at large.

Actors from the Amos Youth Centre
perform a play that promotes art awareness
“Access to arts at a young age creates our future architects, engineers, artists, industrial designers, art historians, graphic designers and cultural representatives”, he said.

Moyo declared that the vision of the government in promoting art and culture has also been echoed in the Patriotic Front party’s manifesto on page 26 stating the desire to encourage public and private investment in the development of arts and culture infrastructure in cities, towns and villages.

Speaking at the same event AYC Director Frederick Kamanya said the addition of the arts in conjunction with artSprouts encompasses the centre’s holistic approach in respect of education. He went on to elaborate on many more of the AYC’s projects, with particular emphasis on its long running scholarship programme.

“Another important aspect of our work is the Sponsorship program. It started in 2007 when Amos sponsored 25 secondary school pupils. Every year since then, the number of beneficiaries has increased. For the 2016 school year, 193 of Amos most vulnerable members have received a sponsorship to attend various secondary schools. Also 38 students are attending universities and colleges around Zambia”, said Kamanya.
And artSprouts Executive Director Mila Shelehoff underlined that during the first two weeks of operations, her organisation will engage in hands-on teacher training and Amos Youth Centre staff and student teachers will have learned how to nurture student's artistic abilities and help them appreciate art.

Young artists display a collaborative piece during the
launch of the Amos Youth Centre art programme

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