IMPROVING LITERACY & NUTRITION IN KINDIA
On August 3, 2011, RDDC and the Association of Benka-Fissa officially launched their partnership creating an ongoing dance, nutrition and academic program in Kindia, Guinea. The relationship between RDDC and Benka-Fissa emerged over a year of discussions and trial projects begun in 2010.
The program’s first official cohort serves mostly boys who live in Kindia, aged 10 to 19 years. These boys face extreme poverty, lack of access to education and unstable family lives. RDDC’s partnership with Benka-Fissa keeps children safe, educated and fed by involving them in productive physical and mental activities. The program runs three times for a combined time of four months per year.
During that period, the local Guinean staff work with RDDC/USA to provide the following services:
* Six days a week, the students attend a four-hour dance training program of classical ballet, contemporary/modern, hip hop, traditional Guinean dance, and acrobatics.
* Children learn basic reading and writing skills in French and English through a daily academic program.
* RDDC sponsors a meal program to improve the nutrition of the children who come from poor and economically depressed circumstances.
* The top 18 children regularly present performances in Kindia while others are selected to advance their training in other countries through RDDC programs.
ARTISTRY & DEVELOPMENT: LEARNING A MARKETABLE SKILL
The program’s artistic goal is to produce a small group of dance-acrobats who are sufficiently proficient to earn an income from their work as performers. The larger development goal is to improve the nutrition and educational levels of poor children in Kindia to help them survive and thrive.
Working alongside Ibrahima Mara (President) of the Association of Benka-Fissa and Ibrahim Bamba/BBL (Director, Centre d’art acrobatique “Keita Fodeba”), this joint program has office space at Maison des Jeunes and has school materials for 50 students.
The training center now bursts with creative physical and intellectual expression generated from the bodies and minds of busy young people. Every day the building fills with chalkboards, exercise books, benches and work tables as the children move from their dance and acrobatic classes to their academic lessons.
“When you walk into the barren stone building called ‘Maison des Jeunes’ lacking electricity, furniture and plumbing, you would think it was deserted and abandoned for years. But, at 9:00am each and every morning, it fills with 24 street kids who have come to pass their long, isolated days with acrobatic lessons and now school lessons.”
Ibrahima Mara, Association Benka-Fissa
Ansoumane Conde, Conakry Representative
M. Doumbouya, Languge Teacher
Sy Dijbril, Consultant (Mauritania)