NEWSLETTER

Issue No. 2   

January - May 2014

Dear Partner and Friend of the Babawatoto Centre
and the FIT FOR LIFE project

Welcome to our second newsletter about the project FIT FOR LIFE - Educating vulnerable youngsters in the arts and creative industries in Dar es Salaam - a project financed by the European Union.

The Goethe-Institut Tanzania is the Coordinator and the Parapanda Theatre Lab Trust, Dar es Salaam and the ICC ufaFabrik, Berlin are the partners of the project.

The project started in March 2013 with the preparation for THE BIG WHEEL, the first international artistic Workshop meeting, which kicked off in June 10,  2013. Over 60 children and youngsters participated in the first THE BIG WHEEL.

The next BIG WHEEL will take place in June 2014 (16.06. - 4.07.2014).
The international trainers who will provide further education to the Babawatoto trainers come from the ufaFabrik / Terra Brasilis, one of the partners of the project, and from a culture and education centre in Cambodia.

About these partners and co-operators in the project you will find more infomation on our website: www.babawatotofitforlife.net

Ongoing Performances

More than 35 children and youngsters are participating in the ongoing classes every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Mkude Kilosa is guiding  the acrobatic classes. Children are improving every day in Trapeze and Juggling. End of February the classes were again increasing after the performances of the “Bubu Group” on February 21 and after “Kiguru cha Mbuzi” on April 27. Further there are more than eight new participants in the classes, which are trained on a beginner's level.

The Babawatoto Centres had to replace four local trainers in May: Omary Shaushi (juggling), Abdulrazack Abdallah and Karimu Hamis (acrobatic class) had an offer in India and left the centre. Their classes will be trained now by Mwanaidi Salehe, Shomari Said and Alex Shomari Said.

The Art and Craft Workshops (March 17 – April 8, 2014)

Five participants from Mburahati community were trained in the handling of sound and light equipments at the location of the Parapanda Theatre Lab. Aman Lukuli and Frank Samatwa led these workshop after their intership at the technical department of ufaFabrik Berlin.

The workshop topics were

  • The meaning and importance of lights and sound in Theatre
  • Handling and safety of lights and sound equipments
  • Maintainance of the lights and sound equipments
  • Selection, planing and use
  • Practical exercises
  • Study Tour

The participants were Omary Shaushi, Said Charles, Mohamed Hamis, Ismail Almas and Mwanaidi Salehe. They applied their knowledge during practical exercises in theatre performances which were conducted by the University of Dar es Salaam, Fine and Performing Arts departiment: Kinjekitile was played by Lumumba Theatre, Chuano play was performed by Parapanda Theatre Lab and Linaubani play was put on stage from the Malezi Youth Theatre.

The workshop was successful according to Frank Samatwa and Aman Lukuli who were  demonstrating the results to the Advocacy Forum, which was organised for their last day of conducting this workshop.

  • Improvement of the participant’s knowledge and skills in the areas of cultural events sound and lights which was a part of the workshop objectives.
  • The participants received good education in the whole concept of workshops provided in the areas of lights and sound on stage performances.

The individual participants are now able

  • to repair and replace the devices which are not working in the lights and sound equipments at the best skilled level
  • to plan and make arrangements of sound equipments in the cultural events and make a sound set-ups with a PA System to get the best sound in the event
  • to plan and set lights in a theatre auditorium or a temporary theatre stage for a performance
  • to manage lights and sound equipments by having great knowledge on equipments cleanliness, keeping and storing
  • to test different wires and identify which wire is working and the one which is not working.
  • to explain with confidence the importance of lights and sound technology on theatre arts
  • to make an electric power connection from a small source of electric power as their basic level of knowledge that they have received

Advocacy Forum

School teachers from Mianzini and Mburahati primary schools, local government officers of Kwajongo street, parents and relatives of the children and youth who are participating at the Centre's workshops attended the Second Advocacy Forum, which was held on April 11, 2014 at Babawatoto Centre.

The main topics  of the forum was to emphasize the community about the possibilities to help the children and youth to avoid areas with risks such as drug abuse, robberies and prostitution of girls. The Forum was a good opportunity to communicate the centre's objectives and the common possibilities for the children, their families and the community given through the EU – funded project "Fit for Life".

Some of the parents did not know before about these specific objectives, others were already experienced by the social improvements of their children. So Omary’s Mother gave thanks to the centre for the education in acrobatics and stage-sound and light technics. Since he was a local trainer of the project he got also some allowance which helped his family. Mwanaisha’s mother gave also thanks to the centre for educating her daughter in sewing and tayloring.
They all agreed to follow up with the activities and proposals for the children's benefit and they will work hand in hand with the Babawatoto centres and the FFL project at all.

At the performances of the  FFL team in the frame of this day a huge number of community people attended.

Performances

  • February 21, the FFL Team was performing an Open Air Show at Bubu Ground where more than one thousand spectators were in the audience. The director of Goethe-Institut Tanzania Frau Eleonore Sylla and the Board Member of Parapanda Theatre Lab Dr. Mona Mwakalinga, the director of Parapanda Theatre Lab Ms. Eva D Nyambe and local government officers of the Kwajongo street were attending the show as well. A lot of games were offered including eggs-, spoon- and sack races as well as coconut grinding. Children were enjoying it and many of them came to join the centre.
  • The Babawatoto artists performed at Nafasi Art Space on March 29, 2014 as a monthly performance and more than two hundred people were watching  the performance. Many thanks to all friends and people who are engaged in the activities of the Babawatoto Centre for the benefit of the Mburahati children.
  • The street performance was conducted at Kiguru cha Mbuzi ground around Mburahati area on April 27, 2014 and here more than one hundred and fifty people watched the show. It was an open air show, so many members of the community came and were asking for their children to become participants in the centres.

Networking

Nafasi Art Space became a new networking partner. The FFL team was invited to perform during a launch event held by Nafasi Art Space. Many beautiful activities were offered to the   vistiors, just as children drawing classes and music workshops.

The Babawatoto team performed in the frame of the EU Week, which took place at the Alliance Française and Karume ground. The young artists showed their skills in acrobatic and  juggling and were accompagnied by the young Babawatoto Samba - Reggae Band. The programme was conducted by the EU Delegetion in Tanzania. More than one hundered visitors came to see the performance including the EU-Ambassador, the Deputy Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sport and the director from the Department of Culture Development Tanzania.

Also there could attend twenty eight Children from the Babawatoto Centre at the Michele Piras Children’s Football Tournament to watch the football match. The children were very happy about the T-shirts they received as a gift.

Voice of a FIT FOR LIFE Participant

ABDALLAH JUMBE KIFUNDO (13 years)

He was born in 1999 and is therefore a teenager of 13 years of age. He joined the BabaWatoto Center since 2012, when he appeared in the streets just after leaving school. He attended first grade and the second grade although not very well because he was a chronic truant.

Doto Kifundo (28), Abdallah’s mother:

"He started at Tandika Primary School while living with his father and a step-mother, I didn’t marry his father, and this is why we were not together all this time as he’s living in Tandika while I have been living around Mburahati. Abdallah didn’t like going to school, he was a very truant and his life were always spending all of his day-time in rubbish pits and later he escaped from Tandika and came to live in Mburahati with my mother, who lives with him until now. They tried to transfer him from that school he was admitted and moved him to Mburahati Schools, but he has never went to school, as you can see him now he cannot read or write".

Zanaib Said (52), Abdallah's Grandmother:

“Abdallah has been spending all of his time in the video show centres and Sifa street grounds, the place where bad behaviour kids are playing. He was very abusive to both young and adults, he was playing gambling and much evil in the street. After seeing Abdallah has begun coming to this centre (BabaWatoto Centre), I also began making follow-up on him, I even involve Mr. Nelson and Mr. Mkude who are teachers at this center to help me in making sure they are watching my grandson”, said Abdallah’s grandmother.

She keep saying; “Frankly speaking, he has changed a lot, he even started to steal some money and other small things at home, his mother and even his father had been very struck by the action of small-scale theft and the act of not staying at home but always wandering around unnecessarily. He sometimes used to come back home in a very middle of the night around 01:00am to 02:00am or some days he completely not coming back home. This situation was the reason for Abdallah not going to school. There was a time his father took him and wanted to take him back to school again, but Abdallah jump to the wall and run”.

Today I am very grateful and appreciate that Abdallah is spending his time in this center, learning a lot of good life skills,  but also many things and different actions he does I’m always notified by the leaders of the centre and participate in, he is doing very well now. He is nowadays returning home early, greating elders, doing his own laundry, getting shower and of course he’s not the same kid who always used to get punished", Abdallah’s grandmother added.

Abdallah: The lessons I have learned in the project FFL

"I started at the very beginning of this project, I learned to play the circus, tinkering with various materials and small balls, diabolos and juggling as well as riding a single tyre bike.
I haven’t gone to school and I don’t like going to school either, this is why I don’t know how to read and write, but I do like many kinds of arts and I know some of them that I can perform. I have learned dance and drumming, therefore am seeing these arts as the keys to my life success.

The Babawatoto Centre has made me not wandering around the streets unneccessary anymore, because during the workshops we are given lunch and eat together in the centre. We also used to visit and make tours in different places with my fellow children and perform acrobatics, it's lovely and I love the tours that are prepared by BabaWatoto Centre.

I don’t steal to my grandmother again because my teacher Mr. Mkude warned me that it is not a good character but a dangerous one. Whenever I am hungry he always buy me some food."

Challenges

"There was a time my teachers Mrs. Habiba and Mr. Mkude wanted me to go and wash my clothes, cut my hair, while I never had such interests and I didn’t like it at all. I even wish to stop coming to the center because I was afraiding that they could seen me rough. But nowadays am doing very well, even if I fail to wash my clothes, my grandmother do it for me then the other days I wash myself and getting bath everyday.
Hunger is also a big challenge, because my grandmother cannot manage to give me three meals at a day, and this was also a reason as to why I refused school. My mother never gave me some pocket money to eat something at school, but when I come to rehearse and perform acrobatics at BabaWatoto Centre, we are sometimes given food, soda, biscuits and eat. And during the trainings which is always starting June, we are provided breakfast and lunch in the centre.

I never had nice clothes and shoes, but since I have began training at this center my father started taking good care of me again, he have bought me some shoes and clothes for different tours the centre is preparing for us to perform. At the first time he refused to help me with anything because I refused going to school and choose loitering instead.
My final gratitudes goes to my teacher Mr. Mkude who taught me acrobatics, now I know the game well and I do it very well. I have made many friends and I am very well known in the street that I live because of nice acrobatics that I perform. Therefore I am no longer a bad kid as I used to be."

Meet the team behind the project by visiting our website http://babawatotofitforlife.net/the-team

Dar es Salaam, May 28, 2014
Habiba Issa
Project Manager

This project is funded by the European Union. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.