We have returned from our journey to Ethiopia, and our experience could not have been more successful. We’re so excited to share all about it! Meeting the teachers, mothers, and children at the preschool and learning about their culture was so wonderful! Please continue reading to hear a team member’s recap of her journey.
Just like in our Atlanta and Costa Rica programs, we showed the children love and compassion through art and helped them boost their imagination and creativity in our projects. The language barrier seemed like a challenge at first because we were unable to ask the children about their art the way we would here in America. However, we quickly realized that communicating fluently with the children was not a necessity to a successful program, and we actually gained many strengths out of the barrier. Less talking and more silent understanding taught them the beauty of speaking and showing emotion and communicating without words–the exact reason why art is so beneficial to us all in the first place.
Through our projects, we taught the children about about creating something out of nothing, as well as focusing on things that make them happy, making wishes for their future, thinking about who their personal heroes are in their lives, making something special for their loved ones, and the beauty of playing with play dough and pipe cleaners and getting messy with finger paint! We created their own “Magical Art Room” out of an empty classroom where they can now go to create all the time!
We loved sharing such special moments with these sweet children, watching their faces light up as they created art with their teachers and friends. We even had a chance to create similar art projects with their mothers so that they could understand the full scope of what our program does for their children and their families. They loved relaxing with art just as much as their children! In addition to creating art with the children and their mothers, we met with the teachers at the school for an hour each day to create art with them and train them on the values, standards, and importance of drawchange. We are pleased to know they have the knowledge and resources they need to continue our program at the school while we are back home in Atlanta!
We are so honored to have been a part of such a profound and rewarding experience. We cannot wait to go back and see all our newfound Ethiopian friends next year! Check out our photos on our Facebook page to see all the smiles and fun!
We couldn’t thank our partners Art of Esteem, Connected in Hope and Dreaming Zebra Foundation enough for helping make this worthwhile project a reality for the children!