Mary Asiko with 2 children at the Kisumu Talent Club

Mary Asiko, Kisumu Talent Club Project

Date grant awarded: October 14, 2016

In Obunga Slum, Kenya, Mary Asiko is using the arts to teach young people about HIV/AIDS, and to give them the tools to be future advocates for their community. In a community facing high rates of HIV/AIDS, dance may seem to be an odd way to address the issue. However, East Africa Team Member David Omondi has seen the impact of Mary’s work first hand, and has awarded a flow fund grant in support of her project.

David says “What stands out for me is her resilience and ability to integrate HIV/AIDS awareness campaign into her music and dance agenda. Her group is not an ordinary music and theatre group, but an engine for community transformation which advocates for respect to the infected and affected persons, positive living and destigmatisation.

Many schools put a lot of emphasis on learning for purposes of passing examinations. Mary’s work goes a long way in developing student talent and engaging them in community advocacy and development . . .

[they] know that their voice is important in creating change in the community and grow up knowing this is crucial for the future generation.”

Reflecting on the future for these young people, David told us “as they dance their way out of crime and the dangers of early sexual activity and pregnancies, there is hope that empowering them while nurturing their skills and talents holds the key to a better community.” This grant will help them buy costumes and materials as they use the arts to explore and advocate for these issues.