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Anno's Africa


ANNO'S AFRICA is a UK based charity that offers an alternative, arts education to orphans and vulnerable children in some of Africa’s most desperately deprived city slums. The children who have been participating in our Kenyan programme live in the most appalling conditions, sleeping either on the streets or in corrugated iron shacks with no amenities, where often families of eight or more struggle to feed themselves on less than a dollar a day. Scavenging on rubbish tips in an effort to find something to sell so that they can cobble together enough for an evening meal is the way many of these children survive. They are prey to many illnesses: malaria, intestinal worms, pneumonia and other lung infections and of course the ever present threat of HIV / AIDS.


Although there are many charities working to supply medical help and feed these children, what is sometimes overlooked is that they are as hungry for an education as they are for food. They themselves will tell you that hand-outs, although vital in the short term, are not a long term solution and the only way out of the desperate poverty trap is through education. However, in Kenya, in spite of Government pledges that all children should have access to a free education, many families cannot afford the school uniforms and books that are a prerequisite for children attending State schools. As a result, various churches and other local organisations have set up “Non-Formal” charity schools in order that these kids can receive a very basic, but limited, education. ANNO'S AFRICA links with these schools to provide the kids with a series of workshops in the arts for several weeks each year. The programme covers five major disciplines. Art, Drama, Music, Dance (including Ballet) and Circus skills. During the workshops we also offer teacher training to local artists so that the arts projects can become permanent features in these schools and we will be expanding to take the programme to orphanages and children’s shelters in and around the country’s major cities..

ANNO'S AFRICA is now entering it's seventh year in Nairobi and has joined forces with a German Foundation ONE FINE DAY which was started by the charities head of art, Marie Steinmann & her husband, film maker Tom Tykwer primarily to support the workshops and also the year round weekend arts clubs that are part of Anno's Africa's programme. These classes are held in both the participating Schools as well as two other children's projects in the Kibera slum. One fine Day Films has also set up an aduly film making school which runs each year and invloves 60 young film students.(www.onefineday.org/)


There is, however, no chance of these slum children sitting the Grade 8 school certificate, without which most professions are closed to them - including teaching - medicine - business - government and law. The ANNO'S AFRICA project not only offers them the opportunity of finding alternative careers in the media, but more essentially allows them to explore their creative talents and discover their artistic potential, giving them the confidence and self esteem that will carry them through into their adult lives with optimism and hope.


Marie and Karen with the Majengo Art Group in 2007.


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