Francis Odhiambo was raised in the largest slum of Kenya, called Kibera. He is a 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. Especially when kids are free from school, they have nothing to do and are more likely to engage in these ‘bad’ activities. There was not much to do in his neighbourhood to keep the children out of the streets. He wanted to provide the children around him with a safe space and give them a fun and positive activity to keep them engaged in the weekends. On Saturdays, he started to teach the children in his neighbourhood to dance. It quickly became so popular that the kids knocked on his door every Saturday morning, asking him when the class was starting. He noticed that dance is a fun and easy way to engage kids and that through dance, he could teach them more than just some dance moves.
He met Cherrelle Druppers, an education and development enthusiast, who recognised the life skills Franco was teaching in his classes. She saw how he taught the children self-esteem, how to collaborate and think creatively in a safe and free space. Life skills for these children are essential while they can support them in decision making and manage the challenges they face. Together they started ChezaCheza and focused on life skills education through dance and started to develop their curriculum.
ChezaCheza started with just 1 teacher and 1 dance hub. We then developed a training module to teach other dancers on our dance & life skills curriculum. This is how we expanded our work in the community by growing the number of dance hubs and working together with schools. We have become experts in movement-based learning and advise schools, organisations and companies on how to integrate movement and learning.