Hi, my name is Francis Odhiambo and I am the co-founder of ChezaCheza. I was raised in the largest slum of Kenya, called Kibera. I am a talented dancer who knows the difficulties of growing up as a child in this area. There are many problems such as crime, violence and drug abuse. I did not know how to handle the pressures of staying away from gangs, drugs and crime. All I wanted was a safe space that gave me the right tools to handle my challenges. After finding the right path, I started to teach the children in my neighbourhood to dance. To keep them off the street and engaged in something positive. It quickly became so popular that the kids knocked on my door every Saturday morning, asking to dance. I also saw a change in their behaviour, more positive attitudes, self-esteem and improved communication skills. I knew dance had the power to transform lives.
In 2018, I met my co-founder, an education specialist and together we registered as a Kenyan nonprofit. We started working on a context-driven curriculum with an engaging and culturally relevant learning approach, dance! Our training program enables dance teacher to become local leaders and set up a dance hub in their community. With input from the community I live in, we have create an innovative education solution that can be scaled to reach many children in vulnerable communities and in schools.
ChezaCheza started as one safe space where children can get essential skills and now I want every child to experience the joy of dancing in our classes and getting the skills they need to navigate their life. In 2019 we opened 2 other locations in Kibera and started working in schools. In 2020, we are training more teachers on our program, work with more schools and provide professional counselling for our kids. This is how ChezaCheza is changing the community with local resources and works on better physical and mental well-being for the future generation of Kenya.
Increase access to social-emotional learning (SEL) to children in informal settlements through the power of dance.
Empowering children with the capacity to make responsible life choices and realize their full potential.