Georgia Batchelor-Robbins and Mike Wamaya – #WeDanceOn The Impact of Dance on Young People

About the Session

Our aim of this presentation is to discuss the positive impact dance has on young people based on Project Elimu’s dance programme. Project Elimu (Project Education) is an educational initiative set up by Mike Wamaya in Kibera; home to 700,000 people and the largest informal settlement in Kenya. The project works towards improving education standards in Kibera through extra-curricular activities, dance being a central focus.

We believe that dance is a tool of dialogue and to find solutions for community. Through our initial arts programme additional opportunities have been set up for the young people; digital learning, entrepreneur development program, gardening club, STEM project and most recently ‘Smile club’. This is a health initiative program aimed to educate all children on reproductive health. Dance has placed the foundations of these projects; dance has brought the community together.

About Mike

Mike Wamaya teaches dance in Kenya’s Kibera and Mathare slums by combining arts with social skills. He was a Top 10 Finalist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize for his unique and extraordinary approach to empowering slum children through ballet. Mike is the founder of Project Elimu; a non-profit organisation championing quality education for children living in informal settlements by providing extra-curricular activities, demonstrating the importance of arts inclusion to standardised curriculum, and equipping teachers with tools to develop and incorporate 21st-Century skills in classrooms. Being able to dance gives children he works with confidence, helps raise their aspirations, and increases motivation for school. For those who have different skills the organisation is extending extra-curricular activities to include other arts, creative writing, theatre, voice, music poetry stagecraft and production. Due to Mike’s dedication and work many of his students have performed at the Kenyan National Ballet and received scholarships to train in America and UK. Mike tweets at @mikewamaya.

Mike Wamaya

About Georgia

Georgia Batchelor Robbins, a final year Primary Education student at Edge Hill University, is a strong believer in educational rights for all. Georgia has dedicated her free time to helping young people in the UK and abroad. As part of her National Citizen Service, she worked with people with Down’s syndrome during a group campaign, ‘Up Syndrome’, and was elected to the North Birmingham Youth Board where she helped organised a ‘Sleep Out’ to raise awareness for homelessness. As a keen dancer, Georgia set up a project to collect dance clothes for Mike’s dancers in Kibera after seeing an article online. After visiting Kibera in 2017 and building a relationship with Mike, Georgia became the UK Ambassador for Project Elimu. Since then, Georgia has been awarded a scholarship from her university, recognising her dedication to volunteering which has allowed her to visit Kibera for a third time, where she has assisted Mike teaching dance and taught art and English lessons. During her most recent trip in 2018, Georgia brought collected children’s books where the protagonists reflected the children and the African culture in order to develop a reading for pleasure scheme at Project Elimu’s centre. Georgia has continued to support Project Elimu during the current Covid-19 circumstances and is hoping to return to Kibera once the pandemic is over. Georgia tweets at @MissGBRobbins.

Georgia Batchelor Robbins

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Thank you to these organisations for their generous support