Non-profit Group Brings Kenyan Dancers To Columbia
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)– Students from Kenya get an incredible opportunity and end up right here in Columbia. For nearly 6 years, the group Artists for Africa has brought kids from Kenya to Columbia, S.C. to fuel their love for dance. Coming from the third largest slum in the world, many of these dancers live without running water and electricity. Now, 11 dancers have this once in a lifetime opportunity, all thanks to the Scholarships provided by the non-profit.
“Some of these children have come from the slums of Nairobi where they maybe had a tin roof over their head and cardboard walls,” Susan Anderson said, Creative director of the camp.
“It’s like a dream. Because I couldn’t have imagined I would have my first flight. I just can’t believe it. I’m here having fun with new family, friends. It’s really cool,” Pamela Atieno said, a dancer from Kenya.
For many, this was the first time for them to get on a plane, first time in the United States, and first time indulging in foods we take for granted.
“Fries, pancakes, I’ve had pasta,” Silas Ouma said while listing off all of his favorite foods since coming to the states.
Dance is so much more for these students. It’s a universal language they can share with the world, and it’s a portal for a better life. Joel Kioko started dancing almost 4 years ago, and now he’s been accepted with a full scholarship into the prestigious English National Ballet School.
“The steps are always the same. And that’s the interesting part of coming here and getting this opportunity. I get to do what I love and do it in a way that I’ve never done before,” Kioko said.
An encouraging message in a language they hope everyone can understand.
“People like me shouldn’t let their background, just be yourself and say I can do it. I can make it,” Atieno said.
Many of them say South Carolina is just the beginning for where Dance can take them.
”Just go for your dreams because right now, I’m going for my dream. And I don’t see anything stopping me,” Ouma said.
The group will perform before the dancers return to Kenya. If you’d like to see their performance, click the link here to buy tickets.