We bring children in informal settlements in Kenya together through dance. Read more

The Challenge

An analysis by the World Bank-UNICEF shows that 1 out of 6 children – or 365 million globally – live in extreme poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa, with limited social safety nets, two–thirds of children live in households that struggle to survive on average $1.90 a day or less per person. Unfortunately, extreme poverty among children has not fallen much as it has for adults, and children are more than twice as likely to be extremely poor as adults. In the under-resourced and marginalized communities, children living in poverty are at a greater risk for abuse, neglect, behavioural, mental, and academic problems.

Research shows that children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences have lower levels of engagement in school, demonstrate negative behaviours, and have higher school dropout rates. A lack of support mechanism can create discipline problems such as the risk of dropping out of school, substance abuse, delinquency and violent behaviour, all of which hinder achieving academic success. The adverse effect of poverty will comprise their future and development into well-rounded individuals who make appropriate choices for an active, safe and productive life.

In the challenging environment that children in informal settlements grow up in, we think about what it takes for children to thrive. Can children learn coping methods and resilience? Are literacy and numeracy skills enough to prepare this next generation for the challenges they will encounter in life? ChezaCheza wants to create a future generation of African children from disadvantaged communities that is resilient, prepared to navigate challenges in their environment and realize their full potential. By providing a quality social-emotional learning program through a local and context-driven solution, we address children’s ability to learn about and manage their emotions and interactions with others—skills all children need to succeed in school, life, and the workplace. Both social-emotional education and arts-based learning show profound impact and lead to reducing problem behaviours and emotional distress that interfere with the learning and development of students. 

Cheza Cheza Dance Foundation | Picture by Katie G. Nelson

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