Lalela Project provides arts education to youth affected by extreme poverty, sparking creative thinking and awakening the entrepreneurial spirit. Our role in arts education is not to churn out artists, it is to help blaze the trail in whole brain thinking that has proven a path to innovation and new job creation. We start early [age 6] in developing imagination in safe spaces that invites the freedom to thinking differently and dream big. We spend years nurturing the life-skills and the action steps that turn imagination into creation.
"Lalela Project has helped me dream up a new person in me." Anthony, age 15
What We Do
In the Western Cape, South Africa, Lalela Project year-round, community-based arts education and leadership workshops to children grades one through twelve in a safe space during the vulnerable after-school hours and holiday periods. We use the power of the arts to help students navigate a clear path that is often cluttered with the hazards of extreme poverty. Our primary communities are Masiphumelele, Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg, Manenburg and Nyanga.
"I want to be a job maker, not a job taker." Melikhaya, age 16
As our learners move toward the last years of high school, we help them find stable career paths in a country with vertiginous unemployment levels. With that in mind, we partner with organizations that expose our students to cultural experiences, and with corporations that provide them with internship opportunities. Once our learners matriculate, the experiences and skills acquired during their internships often allow them to achieve job placements, as well as scholarships for college and professional training. Thus, through life skills training and the power of the arts, we hope to accompany our learners from kindergarten until they enter the job market as capable and creative adults.
"It is just wonderful to have Lalela Project at the school. You can see the attitude change. There is now a sense of, ‘I want to be at school. I want to learn. I want to progress!'" Mr. Julius, Principal of Hout Bay High School in Western Cape.
In July 2013, Lalela Project partnered with the David Rattray Foundation to bring our arts curriculum to children in rural Kwazulu Natal. And in October 2012, Lalela Project completed construction of its I AM Peace Center for the Arts on the campus of Hope North, a living and learning community center for former child soldiers, orphans, and other vulnerable children in Northern Uganda.
Through our partnership with Iziko South African National Gallery's Education and Public Programmes, Lalela Project reaches many more students through our signature curriculum. Our guided lessons designed around the temporal exhibits at the museum are currently distributed to schools and centres in other disadvantaged communities.
Through our arts curriculum and its critical messaging component, we ignite imagination and teach children how to map and manifest their dreams and goals, launching a possibility of a different future for themselves and their communities. Research has shown that educational arts is closely linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development and civic engagement. We engage and empower youth in creative thinking and solutions. We believe that innovative and creative young people will contribute to social and economic development.
To learn more, visit www.lalelaproject.org