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Why are we in Sierra Leone?




Our partner organisation WAYout Arts run an amazing arts centre working with young people affected by war, poverty and living on the streets of Freetown.

Music Action International facilitators Lis Murphy and Faz Shah were invited to share creative ideas, practice and opportunities for the Sierra Leonean young people to pass on their music skills to others living in difficult circumstances.

Sillah and Chen B leading the session

 

What exactly did we do?

In the mornings, under the almond tree, we delivered skill-sharing sessions with 10 young people who learnt ways to engage large groups with music and creativity.

We learnt ways to move the body without talking to create positive energy, to communicate as a group, and to explore rhythm and sounds.

We played games like Diddly-Bop to make people laugh, express themselves and build trust. We shared songs that we love to sing from inspiring people around the world, including from Stone Flowers and from Salone, Sierra Leone.

The new team led their first placements, delivering creative sessions in a juvenile centre for young boys and in a disabled village. WAYout captured the reaction after the first session below.

 

In the afternoons, alongside the chickens and lizards, the newly trained facilitators led a choir with 30 young street people, who then split into groups and wrote their own original songs together.

They created winning songs such as: “Don’t lose your mind” “One Family” “Now Now” and “Noshine” in English, Krio, Mende, Timini and Limba.

Kids enjoying the performance in Kroo Bay

 

At the end of the week, the whole group walked in the baking sun to Kroo Bay, where locals have built their own village in an incredibly resourceful way but that often gets washed away in the rainy season each year, and they are forced to rebuild it. People here struggle on a daily basis.

Our team did two amazing performances, including an impromptu back flip and dance routine! They had local kids and adults alike laughing, joining the procession and singing the songs to us as we wandered back to WAYout for certificate giving.

Before I joined WAYout, I thought no-one cared about me. I had no opportunities in life and no hope for the future. I love to sing in the choir and want to learn more (Biba, choir member)

New participants in the disabled centre

 

What happens next?

Next week, two new teams of Sierra Leonean facilitators start their employment and will deliver their 10-week session plans working towards a performance with juveniles, disabled people and young women from Kroo Bay.

We will be returning in September to bring more ideas, songs and resources to enable Sierra Leoneans to train and skill-share with even more people within their communities.

We are so proud of these extraordinary young people who, despite everything, have committed to transforming the lives of others in their local community, giving them hope and better health through sharing their creativity, skills and compassion.

I can say our session was a success. (Sulcut, Creative Facilitator)

Many thanks to all the team at WAYout for their incredible ongoing work and for making this happen.

Certificate giving at WAYout arts

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